Man arrested for rape in the third degree on Orcas, pleads not guilty

John S. Mattia, 30, of Sierra Leone, has pleaded not guilty after being charged with rape in the third degree.

His arraignment was held on July 31 in San Juan County Superior Court. He is being represented by public defender Alex Frix. The bond was set at $100,000, a no-contact order with the victim was issued and he was ordered to surrender his passport.

The severity of the crime and the risk of the defendant fleeing the area prior to future court dates were cited as two reasons for the high bail. San Juan County Sheriff Eric Peter addressed the court about the conditions of release.

“Mr. Mattia has not had any other involvement with the Sheriff’s Office prior to this incident,” Peter said, explaining that he was advocating for the safety of the victim as well as the safety of the community. “The severity of this crime and the extreme violation alleged to have been perpetrated on the victim by the defendant is extremely alarming and if released back into the community causes a significant risk to the safety of the victim in this case.”

Orcas deputies responded on July 30 to a possible sexual assault that had occurred the night previously. According to the victim, she and Mattia, who work together, had begun dating the week previously. She stated they went out with friends the night of July 29 and stayed in the car afterward to talk. After they began kissing, the victim stated she did not want to go any further. Mattia then allegedly sexually assaulted her.

A Safe San Juans advocate and the victim were transported to Friday Harbor, where the victim underwent a sexual assault exam. It was determined she had sustained significant vaginal injury.

Deputies located Mattia and interviewed him. His story changed several times during the interview and he denied the victim’s version of events. According to the deputy’s report, a search of Mattia’s car revealed evidence that supported the victim’s account. He was arrested and transported to San Juan County jail. Mattia is in the United States on a work visa.

“A huge thanks to Deputy Jay Holt and Chief Deputy David Alexander for your quick actions in caring for the victim, locating the alleged suspect and affecting the arrest,” Peter said in a press release.