Man will serve 10 years behind bars for molesting his two granddaughters
The 64-year-old grandfather who was charged with molesting his two granddaughters has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.
The girls were molested since they were 6 and 9 years old, and they are now 15 and 18.
To protect the identity of the victims in this case, Samoa News is withholding the names of all parties involved.
The government charged the defendant with two counts each of sexual abuse in the first degree, child molestation, and sodomy with a child; however, in a plea agreement with the government, the defendant pled guilty to two counts of child molestation and the remaining charges were dismissed.
Each count of child molesting carries a jail term of 10-30 years.
During sentencing last week, the defendant apologized to the Governor, Lt. Governor, the court, the government, his extended family, his church, and his village of Nu’uuli, but especially to his wife, his children and his two granddaughters involved in the matter.
He told the court that he’s fully remorseful and he has learned his lesson while incarcerated. The defendant’s wife took the stand and said her husband is a good husband who cares and provides for his family and loves his children. She pleaded with the court to allow her husband a second chance to reunite with his family.
Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe asked the court to imprison the defendant to the maximum allowable under the law. Chief Justice Michael Kruse said the offense the defendant is convicted of, is the harshest in the territory, based on laws passed by the Legislature. He further noted the Court’s grave concern is that the crime involves young girls under the age of 12.
According to the government’s case, on August 17, 2013 a woman reported to police that she had a voice recording of a telephone conversation with a 15-year-old female who was crying and saying that her father had been sexually abusing her since she was a little girl.
Court documents state that the defendant is the victims' grandfather, but he adopted the girls when they moved to American Samoa from California.
The defendant began by touching the older granddaughter inappropriately and then later progressing to her younger sister.
According to court filings, during an interview with police, the defendant allegedly admitted touching his oldest granddaughter inappropriately, but denied doing the same to the younger girl.
He told police he did not recall when or how many times it happened but that he had touched his older granddaughter’s private parts and performed sex acts on her.
He further told police it all began when his granddaughter would come to him for things like money and then telling him that he can do whatever he wants to her.
This, he said, is when the inappropriate behavior began.
According to the government, the defendant was sexually abusing the two girls since they were young and it has been happening continuously throughout the years. The last time the defendant inappropriately touched the girls was earlier this year in July.
The defendant was sentenced to 10 years in jail for each count of child molesting but the terms are to run concurrently, meaning the defendant will spend the next decade behind bars.