19 Nov 2009

Death threats in American Samoa prompt prosecutor to leave territory

4:07 pm on 19 November 2009

American Samoa's Assistant Attorney General, Lisa Teesch MacGuire, has quit her job because of death threats made after a successful prosecution in a rape trial.

Ms MacGuire, who has been the head of the criminal prosecution division, is currently in the US and won't return to Pago Pago.

She had left the territory in October and has now revealed that she no longer felt safe in American Samoa.

Ms MacGuire says on the day that the jury returned its guilty verdict in the rape trial of Larry Samatua, she was threatened by family members of the defendant.

She says she received police protection after she learned the day after the trial that people had called the police station, saying they heard that friends and family of the defendant were making plans to kill her and others involved in investigating the case.

She says knowing other pending cases involving the defendant and other family members, and realising that police are not armed she no longer felt safe.