Defendant in alleged rape of 14yr-old girls brutally beaten in jail
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the defendants in the alleged rape of two 14-year-old girls is currently fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the LBJ Hospital, after he was allegedly beaten by other inmates at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last Saturday.
This was confirmed by a close family member, and a reliable source. Samoa News also received several telephone calls from members of the public regarding the matter.
According to a report received by Samoa News, the inmate was making his way back to his cell after his family visited him on Saturday when he was allegedly beaten by several inmates.
Samoa News understands that an investigation is underway under the auspices of the DPS Criminal Investigating Division (CID).
The inmate is Nick Mataia, one of the defendants in the case where three men are charged with raping two 14-year-old girls in the beginning of this month.
Samoa News visited the ICU yesterday morning. A staff member who was not allowed to speak to the media regarding the case did confirm that a patient by the name of Mataia was admitted and is in the ICU.
The staff member explained that no family members are allowed to visit him, and a police officer is assigned to guard the door to make sure no family members - or anyone -visits Mataia.
According to a family member who spoke to Samoa News, the alleged incident occurred after the family visited Mataia on Saturday, at the TCF.
“Mataia was with his family on Saturday morning, but it was on his way back to his room when the alleged incident happen. He was allegedly beaten to near death. He’s now at the ICU but the sad thing is, his family especially his wife and two young children are not allowed to see him or visit him at the hospital,” the family member said.
According to the family member, the family is able to communicate with hospital staff regarding the status of Mataia’s health, but they want to visit him, so they can determine what to do to save his life.
“The family is grieving because of this incident,” the family member said.
According to a report the family received from hospital staff members, Mataia’s head was beaten very badly; his X-rays show that he has a broken skull and he’s in critical condition at this time.
The family is having a hard time trying to find out what exactly happened. The family member stated that according to police at the TCF, who were on duty during the time of the alleged incident, this is a hard case because nobody actually saw what happened to Mataia.
A source from inside TCF also confirmed the alleged beating to Samoa News.
The source, who wishes not to be named for safety reasons, confirmed that a male inmate was brutally beaten by several inmates inside TCF during Saturday’s visitation hours. The inmate was transported to the hospital for treatment by an EMS unit.
“I did not see the incident but I can confirm that it occurred at the Pending Unit, the facility where all of the inmates who have pending cases are housed,” the source said.
“I also heard a lot of rumors right now that those guys … who are at the Pending Unit might be responsible for the beating. There is an investigation going on right now, which is being carried out by detectives from the CID, and I hope the truth will come out soon,” the source said.
Immediately after the alleged beating, family visitations were cancelled for the weekend, and the whole compound was on lockdown for the weekend.
According to the source, one of the main problems that TCF is facing right now is the giving out of cell keys by several TCF guards to certain inmates. The source said this is why some of these types of incidents happen inside TCF — because several inmates have in their possession keys to cells, they can open cells whenever they want to and do whatever they want to do.
Two weeks ago, another inmate was also badly beaten by inmates inside TCF.
The inmate looked fine when he made his initial appearance in District Court; however, when he appeared the following day for this preliminary examination hearing, his face was swollen. When Samoa News asked the inmate if he knew who had assaulted him, he just shook his head.
Apisaloma Timu, Loma Iosia and Nick Mataia were arrested last week and made their initial appearances in District Court. They each waived their rights to a preliminary examination (PX), and their cases were bound over to High Court last Friday.
Each defendant is charged with rape, 2 counts of first degree sexual abuse -both felonies - along with a class A misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child.
District Court Judge Fiti Sunia established bail for all three defendants at $100,000 each.
The case is alleging the rape of two 14-year-old girls by the three, while also giving them ‘ice’ (methamphetamine).
(See story for details in Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 edition).