Overstayer from Samoa pleads guilty to sex with a 15-yr-old girl

He asked the judge if he can go home, because he has no ID
ausage@samoanews.com

A man from Samoa pled guilty on Wednesday to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl over a span of nearly five months.

Ashley Afamasaga, 24, is an overstayer who was initial slapped with 8 felony charges, including two counts of rape, two counts of sodomy, and 4 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree — all felonies.

However, under a plea agreement with the government, the defendant pled guilty to 2 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and the remaining charges were dismissed.

With his guilty plea, Afamasaga admits that between Mar. 24 and Aug. 14 this year, he sexually assaulted a young girl who was under 16 years of age by engaging in sexual activities with her. The defendant admitted to the Court that he had sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old girl several times, and he did it to satisfy his sexual desires.

Under the plea agreement, both sides are free to make their own sentencing recommendations, including a recommendation for a probated sentence, but the defendant understands and agrees that he cannot withdraw his guilty plea if the Court renders a different sentence.

During court proceedings, Acting Associate Justice, Elvis P. Patea informed the defendant that by pleading guilty to the 2 offenses, he is waiving his right to a jury trial, and once the Court accepts his guilty plea, he will be convicted of both offenses, and he will be sentenced according to the law.

When Patea asked the defendant if he understood what was going to happen if he pled guilty, Afamasaga shook his head and asked, “What happens if I don’t have an I.D? Should I be allowed to go back home now?”

Patea asked the defendant what I.D he was referring to, and Afamasaga replied, “My Immigration I.D because I came here on a 30-day permit, and I don’t have a I.D or legal papers to stay in American Samoa.”

Judge Patea responded, “That’s not the issue before us right now. I’m talking about your constitutional right, whether you understand it or not. Do you understand that if you waive your right to a jury trial and wish to enter a guilty plea, you will be found guilty whether you have an Immigration I.D or not?”

Afamasaga replied affirmatively.

The defendant has been remanded back to custody, as he is unable to post a $10,000 surety bond.

His will be sentenced on Dec. 21st.

According to the government's case, the 15-year-old victim told police she and the defendant had sexual intercourse numerous times between Mar. 14 and Aug. 24 this year.

When questioned by police, Afamasaga confessed to the sex acts but added, he thought the victim was over 18 years old.

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