Court Report


Chief Justice Michael Kruse sentenced a man accused of touching a 10-year-old girl inappropriately to 20 months in jail, as part of his five year sentence. The defendant, Foua Ata pled guilty to sexual abuse which led to the sentence. Ata was also ordered to register as a sex offender and to undergo HIV testing. He’s entitled to seek work release upon serving 180 days in jail.
During sentencing last week Friday, Ata of Pago Pago apologized to the victim, asking his wife and children to forgive his wrongdoing. The defendant stated before the court that he’s full of remorse and asked the court to release him from jail.
Assistant Public Defender Joel Shiver asked the court to place the defendant on probation, but prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Steffany Oldsfield asked the court to sentence the defendant to the maximum allowable under the law. She pointed out that the court should consider the defendant’s age and the victim, who’s only a ten-year-old child.
According to the government’s case, the victim was playing with the defendant’s children, when the defendant chased his children away, leaving the victim alone in the room, and it was then the defendant touched her on her private parts. 
The prosecutor further stated that when the defendant was asked about the incident, he told the police it was an accident; however at a later time admitted to his wrongdoing. The prosecutor also pointed out the defendant has young children himself and was a school counselor at one time.
The prosecutor asked the court to sentence the defendant to five years in jail, and  ordered not to be a counselor in the schools any longer. The Chief Justice explained that there’s no difference in sentencing the defendant to five years straight or five years probation.
With five years probation he can serve 20 months; but with five years straight sentencing after serving 20 months he will be entitled to be out on parole, if his request is granted. Kruse sentenced the defendant to 20 months in jail, as part of his five year probation.
Sefo Lega of Malaeimi was charged with second degree assault and public peace disturbance and he pled guilty to both charges filed against him.
 According to the government’s case, on October 13, 2013 police responded to a call and upon arriving at the scene in Malaeimi, they were informed by the victim that Lega, who was intoxicated, had slashed him three times using a pocket knife. The victim, who was taken to the hospital, sustained three stitches on each shoulder and three stitches on his neck as a result of the incident.
Court filings say Lega during interrogation admitted he had used a pocket knife to cut the victim three times.
“Defendant stated that the victim tried to stop a fight between him and other people and that’s when he took out the knife and slashed the victim,” say court filings.
Sentencing in this case is scheduled for January 14, 2014.
Inmate Keith Talosaga — accused of assaulting another inmate and facing second degree assault and private peace disturbance, denied the charges against him during his arraignment before the High Court last Friday.
The incident came to light when the victim inmate launched a complaint against Talosaga with the Warden on September 16, 2013. Court filings say that Talosaga and another inmate, Sam Tupuola, went to the victim’s cell regarding money that he (the victim) owed, however the victim did not have the money.
It’s alleged Talosaga became upset and punched the victim in the face and allegedly stabbed the victim in the neck with a piece of metal wire from the cell, which was wrapped around Talosaga’s fist. Court filings say the victim suffered a small puncture wound that caused the victim to experience blurry vision and dizziness on the day of the incident.
The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment and police officer Fetaui Moeoge was assigned to investigate the case. Moeoge spoke to other inmates who were housed with the victim. One witness told police that Talosaga had gone to the victim’s cell where the witness allegedly told him to leave and Talosaga left.
However, when the victim went to apologize to Talosaga, the victim returned with a bloody nose. Police spoke to Talosaga, who stated he beat up the victim because the victim had not paid him the money that he owed him.
Talosaga said when Tupuola asked the victim for his money, the victim treated it as if it was a joke and the victim swore at him and that’s when he punched the victim. Talosaga’s case is slated for February 14, 2014 for his pre-trial conference.
A baker who failed to deliver a wedding cake she was paid to bake has entered a guilty plea. The baker, Sianini Foster of Pago Pago is charged with stealing, a class C felony, however in a plea agreement with the government the defendant pled guilty to misdemeanor stealing.  Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement.
The baker admitted in front of the court that she used the $920 paid for the wedding cake.
According to the government’s case, on Dec. 15, 2012 a woman filed a complaint with the police, where she told police she had paid Foster $920 to make a wedding cake, but on the wedding day the family was told there was no cake and the defendant could not be reached.
Court filings say police were able to locate the defendant, who is a cook with the Department of Education, but who also bakes wedding cakes in her free time, using her mother’s business license.
Foster confirmed the victim did pay her $920 for a wedding cake for the victim’s nephew; including a $20 tip.
Sentencing for the baker is slated for next year January.


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