Trial date set for man charged with rape

Warning: The following story contains details of sexual assault.

John Sattia Mattia, 30, of Sierra Leone, has been charged with rape in the second degree – forcible compulsion and two counts of assault in the second degree — intentional bodily harm, which are felonies.

Both assault charges carry an additional sexual motivation penalty. Mattia is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on Orcas Island. A four-day jury trial has been scheduled to begin on Oct. 3.

On July 31, he pleaded not guilty in San Juan County Superior Court during a preliminary appearance. Public defender Alex Frix is representing Mattia. 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.”

Details of the 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 raped 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. He has no prior criminal history in the U.S.