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Samoa sex assault convicts may get early release

Two Samoan students who were convicted in American Samoa for having sex with a minor last April could be home for New Year's.

One of them, Nomani Tepa, entered into a plea agreement last month, pleading guilty to sexual assault while rape charges were dropped.

The two, along with adult volunteer Vaega Anderson, were originally charged with rape of a 15-year-old girl in the village of Utulei where the group was hosted during the Flag Day celebrations.

The Public Defender Douglas Fiaui in seeking leniency for the two students, saying the boys didn't know that the girl was a minor.

The Chief Justice Michael Kruse told the two defendants if there's a lesson to be learnt from being behind bars for eight months is to grow up first before getting involved in adult conduct that entail adult consequences.

The two will have their names listed on the Sex Offender Registry.

Anderson is serving a 20-month jail term.

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