18 Dec 2013

American Samoa church official sentenced for second degree assault

10:18 am on 18 December 2013

An official with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in American Samoa will serve 10 weekends in jail for ramming his car into a vehicle that a family was in.

Paea Latu, a first counselor with the LDS Church, was sentenced for second-degree assault stemming from an incident that occurred in 2012 at the LDS Church in Faleniu.

Prosecutor Tony Graf said a disagreement inside church escalated outside when the defendant got into his vehicle and rammed the victim's car three times.

The mother, her daughter and her 3-year granddaughter were inside the vehicle at the time.

The prosecutor said as first counsel to the bishop, Latu's job is to set an example for his congregation and although the family has forgiven him, justice must be served.

The church official was sentenced to 5 years probation and ordered to serve 20 months in jail.

Latu will serve 10 weekends in jail and the rest of the 20 months will be served throughout his probation.