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Young woman sentenced for assault sparked by a Facebook post

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Judge Patea said defendant's actions only brought about "momentary satisfaction"

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young woman who admitted to assaulting a female student because of something she posted on social media has been sentenced to 12 months probation.

Mala Mataiao, 18, was initially charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault. But yesterday in District Court, she pled guilty to public peace disturbance and the remaining charge was dismissed under a plea agreement with the government.

When asked to explain what happened, Mataiao told the court that she became upset with comments made by the female student on her Facebook page and that's why she "beat her up" in the parking lot of a Tafuna store.

Attorneys from both sides had recommended probation for 6 months, anger management counseling, and no contact with the victim.

When handing down his ruling, Judge Patea told Mataiao that the court doesn't take lightly to people who "take matters and the law into their own hands, in order to solve problems or perceived problems."

He said whatever "momentary satisfaction" Mataiao got on the day in question has now landed her in court, facing the "consequences".

Mataiao was sentenced to 12 months probation with standard conditions that include being law abiding, and attending and successfully completing an anger management counseling program. She is also ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim, either in person or electronically.

With good behavior, Mataiao's 30-day jail term and all but $100 of a $500 fine are deferred.

She has to pay $100 to the court within 30 days.