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Accused rapist to go to trial on bail jumping, drug charges

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RONAN – A man accused of rape in summer 2014 will go to trial later this year for felony bail jumping and drug charges, and attorneys will wait to see if he needs to be tried for the sex offenses that are unresolved after a jury couldn’t reach a verdict in the case. 

According to court documents Robert Jennings Mathewson, Jr., 33, was charged for felony charges of aggravated assault, two counts of sexual intercourse without consent, and kidnapping in 2014. 

According to court documents, on June 18 a woman fell asleep in Mathewson’s trailer and awoke as he was touching her. She told him to stop, but he allegedly hit her in the face and brutally raped her more than once over the course of six hours while refusing to allow her to leave. She eventually escaped and went to a friend’s house and waited for transportation to the hospital. A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Tribal Law Enforcement officer arrived and interviewed her at the hospital. During the interview, the deputy noticed petechiae in her eyes and small purple dots on her face, consistent with being choked. He also observed other injuries, including a bloody lip.

A jury in the case found Mathewson guilty of aggravated assault, but was hung on the matter of sexual assault. 

Originally held on $150,000 bail in the case, Mathewson was released from jail, but failed to appear for sentencing in February. He was charged with bail jumping. He was also charged in a 2013 case where he was arrested on a tribal warrant at the Salish Point swimming area, and a search of his vehicle found a pipe and methamphetamine. He was charged with felony possession of dangerous drugs.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys were able to come to a plea agreement in May to resolve all the charges together, but Mathewson refused to sign it. 

Mathewson’s attorney Glen M. Neier told Lake County District Judge James Manley that he would like to see the bail jumping and drug charges brought up separately, with the sex charges brought up at a later date if necessary. 

Lake County District Attorney Steve Eschenbacher agreed to bringing the bail jumping and drug charges first. 

“We will be asking for a very stiff sentence,” Eschenbacher said. 

Eschenbacher indicated that because of Mathewson’s likely designation as being a Persistent Felony Offender, an enhanced sentence is possible and might alleviate the need for a trial in the sexual assault case. 

Manley agreed to the plan. 

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