Federal inmate sentenced for sexually assaulting cellmate

Vaiola Mataele Tenifa, 31, charged with sexually assaulting another inmate at the Cache County Jail, September 2013.

LOGAN — A 31-year-old federal inmate who was attacked in April, while testifying in a gang related trial in Salt Lake, was in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, answering to charges of sexually assaulting an inmate at the Cache County Jail.

In September, Vaiola Mataele Tenifa was charged with object rape, a first-degree felony.

Prosecutors said Tenifa was being housed in the jail when he sexually assaulted another county inmate.

During court Tuesday, Tenifa pleaded no contest to reduced charges of sexual battery and assault, both class A misdemeanors. He was immediately sentenced to the maximum, 365 days in jail for each charge. Judge Thomas Willmore said the sentence will run concurrent with his federal sentence.

Tenifa was surrounded by Cache County Sheriff’s deputies as he appeared with his attorney in the courtroom.

Cache County Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Jensen said because of security concerns, Tenifa is being housed in another county, awaiting federal sentencing. He was transported to Cache county to appear in court and will be returned now that he has been sentenced.

“Given his history, I don’t want to say too much about when we are taking him and where he is going, given what happened in federal court, a moth ago,” said Jenson.

In April, Tenifa was testifying in a gang related case in federal court in Salt Lake. While sitting on the witness stand, the defendant, 25-year-old Siale Angilau rushed toward him with a pen.

Angilau was shot by a U.S. marshal during the attack. He later died at a hospital.

<hr /><p style=”text-align: center;”>will@cvradio.com

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