Tongan US man gets eight-year prison term for molestation

Kuo tautea 'e ha fakamaau'anga 'i San Mateao, 'Amelika e tangata Tonga ko Latu Lavaki ta'u 62 ke ngāue pōpula ta'u 'e 8 ki he hia ko 'ene pā'usi'i ha fānau iiki a ia ko hono kāinga tonu pē. 'Oku tukuaki'i ne fai 'e he tāngata' ni ha hia tatau 'i he ki hano kāinga pe 'i he 1985 ka ne 'ikai lava ha toe ngāue fakalao ki ai koe'uhī ko e fakangatangata fakata'u ki hono ngāue'aki 'o e lao' ki he ngaahi hia'. Ko hono hilifaki 'eni 'o e tautea' hili ha mei māhina 'e nima mo e konga nai hano fakahalaia'i 'o Latu 'e ha kau Sula 'i Sepitema.

A Tongan man in San Mateo was sentenced to eight years after he was found guilty of two counts of child molestation.

Latu Lavaki’s sentence came after nearly five months after a jury handed down his guilty verdict for crimes he committed at his Millbrae residence more than a decade ago, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

San Mateo Daily Journal report today said, although the defense attorney for 62-year-old, made a motion for a new trial, a judge denied the motion and sentenced him to eight years in state prison. Lavaki is also not allowed to contact the victim for 10 years, according to prosecutors.

Lavaki was found guilty of molesting a 7-year-old relative during the Christmas break of the 2006-07 school year after luring her upstairs by promising to give her a chocolate bar. Years later, the victim disclosed to older female relatives who admitted they too had been molested by Lavaki as far back as 1985. However, those cases fall outside the statute of limitations, according to prosecutors.

Lavaki, who has been in custody on no bail since his trial ended Sept. 10, will receive 633 days credit for time served, according to prosecutors.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Al Serrato said prosecutors are gratified to see Lavaki receive a sentence commensurate with the serious nature of his crime.

“Victimizing a young child is particularly reprehensible,” he said.

Lavaki’s defense attorney Peter Goldscheider was not immediately available for comment.

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