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Samasoni Leama pleads to lesser charge in sex case

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 48-year-old man who was accused of touching a woman’s breast in a sexual manner has admitted to the charge against him.

Samasoni Leama was initially charged with attempted rape and 1st degree sexual abuse, both class C felonies, punishable by a jail term of not more than 7 years, a fine of $5,000, or both.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Leama pled guilty to the amended charge of attempted sexual abuse in the 2nd degree, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

With his guilty plea, Leama admits that on Oct. 27, 2017 he touched a woman's breast, without her consent, to arouse and gratify his sexual desires.

After accepting the plea agreement on Monday, Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea asked both attorneys how they want to deal with sentencing, as the defendant has been in jail for almost a year now.

Both sides said Leama's sentence should be announced this week.

Patea agreed and said a sentence will be issued within 48 hours.