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Man pleads guilty to sexual abuse of his best friend’s niece

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 39-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a 16-year- old girl has pled guilty.

Sione Makeati, 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 Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Makeati was initially charged with two counts of first 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, accepted by the High Court, Makeati pled guilty to one count of first degree sexual abuse.

With his guilty plea, Makeati admits that on Nov. 16, 2018, he touched the breast of a 16-year- old girl with the intent to arouse his sexual desires.

According to the plea agreement, the victim’s mother reported the incident to authorities after she discovered that her daughter was sexually assaulted by the defendant, who is their neighbor and also her brother’s best friend.

The victim told police that the defendant entered her room at night and sexually assaulted her by touching her chest, thigh, and private parts. Two weeks later, there was a second encounter. The defendant, who was very drunk, entered the victim’s 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.

When questioned by police, the victim, in the presence of her parents, said the defendant gave her money to buy clothes and food. She added that the defendant also bought her a new phone so they could communicate; however, somebody took the phone from her school bag.

The government is recommending that the court sentence Makeati to probation, with no jail term. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 20th.