Man accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl pleads guilty
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 37-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl has pled guilty.
Ryan Alesana, who is out on a $10,000 surety bond, appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. He is represented by Public Defender Michael White while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
Alesana was initially charged with two counts of 1st degree sexual abuse, both class D felonies, along with endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, which was accepted by the High Court, Alesana pled guilty to one charge of 1st degree sexual abuse.
With his guilty plea, Alesana admits that on July 10, 2018, he touched the breast of a 15-year-old girl with the intent to arouse his sexual desire.
According to the plea agreement, the victim’s mother reported the incident to authorities after she found out that her daughter was sexually assaulted by the defendant, who is their neighbor.
The victim told police that the defendant entered her room at night and sexually assaulted her by touching her chest, thigh, and her private parts.
Two nights later, there was a second encounter. The defendant, who was very drunk, entered her room at night, and did the same thing to her while she was sleeping. The victim told her mom what happened and authorities were notified immediately.
The government is recommending that the court sentence Alesana to probation, with no jail term.
Alesana is scheduled to appear May 2, 2019 for sentencing
A bus driver accused of violating local drug laws has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Olataga Vesi, 32, appeared in court this week for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
Vesi was initially charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. But under a plea agreement with the government, Vesi pled guilty to a lesser, amended charge.
Vesi admits that on Nov. 24, 2018 he unlawfully possessed 2 glass pipes containing meth. The remaining charge against him was dismissed.
According to notes of the plea agreement, a passenger alerted police, after he witnessed the defendant selling methamphetamine to two men inside a bus at the Fagatogo Market on the morning of the incident.
Cops were able to interview the caller and the defendant, who is an aiga-bus driver.
During a body search, officers discovered 2 glass pipes containing meth inside the right pocket of the defendant’s pants. The defendant told police he had 4 glass pipes with him, but he sold two of them to two men for $50 each.
Vesi is scheduled to appear May 2, 2019 for sentencing.
A 48-year-old man accused of operating a vehicle while his license was suspended following a DUI conviction has admitted that the allegation against him is true.
Onosa’i Akeripa, who is out on a $500 surety bond, appeared in High Court this past week for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
Akeripa, a farmer from Mapusaga Fou was initially charged with felony driving while his license was suspended, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment from 90 days up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both; and two traffic citations, careless and reckless driving.
However, in a plea agreement with the government, Akeripa pled guilty to felony driving while his license was suspended. With his guilty plea, Akeripa admits that on Jan 21, 2019, he knowingly operated a pick-up on the public highway, while his license was suspended by the court for 6 months.
Akeripa’s vehicle was pulled over by police during a traffic stop in Malaeimi on the day in question, because the license plates on the front and back of the vehicle didn't match.
When questioned by police, Akeripa said he didn't who changed the license plates on his vehicle. He also told police his driver's license was expired. A few moments later, Akeripa changed his story, and this time, he apologized to police, saying he had disobeyed the law by operating his vehicle while his license is suspended.
Akeripa begged the officers to release him because his wife and seven children depend on him and his plantation for food and money. He said he was delivering his vegetables to several Asian stores around the area to get money to care for his family and elderly mother-in-law.
When Associate Justice Fiti Sunia asked Akeripa if he understood that he was not allowed to drive a vehicle for 6 months because his license was suspended, the defendant said yes.
Akeripa is scheduled to appear in court on Apr. 26 for sentencing.