St. John Man Held on $15,000 Bond for Rape of Woman, 77

A John’s Folly man with an extensive criminal history was charged with raping a 77-year old neighbor in her home and jailed on $15,000 bond by controversial V.I. Superior Court Leon Kendall.

Melroy Matthias, 42, had been remanded to the Bureau of Corrections after failing to post $75,000 bail after being arrested on charges of first degree rape on Wednesday morning, April 25.

When Matthias appeared for his arraignment April 27 before Judge Kendall, who has been the target of public criticism for decisions on bail in a number sexual assault and other cases, the judge ruled Matthias was a threat to the community and set bail at  $15,000.

April 19 Attack
Matthias allegedly entered the home of an unidentified 77-year-old woman, who was asleep at the time, on the evening of April 19, according to a V.I. Police Department press release.

The woman reported she struggled with the suspect, who placed a pillow over her face and raped her, the release added.

VIPD spokesperson Shawna Richards would not comment on whether the suspect was known to the victim or where on St. John the woman lives, citing VIPD policy to protect victims of sexual assault cases.

“We really don’t release much information on sexual assault cases,” said Richards. “This is done to protect the identity of the victim because of the sensitive nature of the case.”

The victim did not immediately report the rape because she was afraid, the VIPD said.

The victim lives in the area of the suspect’s John’s Folly apartment, according to reports.

Prior Sexual Assault Arrest
Matthias was arrested for sexual assault nearly three years ago. He served time in jail for the incident and had recently been seen in Coral Bay.

Richards did not have information regarding the circumstances of Matthias’ April 25 arrest or his criminal record.

The Safety Zone offered its sympathy and assistance to the victim, according to agency Co-Director Shelley Williams.

The rape of a 77-year-old woman points to a greater deterioration of society, explained Williams.

“The deterioration of a society can be seen when it is unable to protect the most vulnerable among us, our elder citizens and our children,” said Williams. “As a group, they have become more and more the victims of horrific crimes in the territory. We can no longer be complacent, but we must speak out, move to action and hold those who are charged to protect the community to do their jobs.”

“We must remember we are more than keepers of our community, but we are our community,” Williams added. “This is a horrific crime and we at The Safety Zone send our sympathy on this unfortunate incident, and offer our assistance.”

Power-Reassurance Rapist
Rapists can be categorized into different profiles. A man who rapes an elderly woman likely fits the power-reassurance rapist profile, explained Williams.

“He lacks self-confidence and interpersonal skills to develop relationships with women,” she said. “He is passive and non-athletic. He lives or works near his victim, and ‘pre-selects’ her by peeping or stalking.”

The power-reassurance rapist typically breaks into his victim’s home during early morning hours, awakening her, Williams continued.

“He uses minimal force and will threaten her with a weapon, but usually does not have one,” she said. “He fantasizes that he is his victim’s lover so he may ask her to disrobe or to wear a negligee, and he will kiss her and engage in foreplay.”

Twenty-one percent of rapists fall into the power-reassurance rapist category.