Matthew Matagrano, a convicted sex offender who posed as a jails investigator to sneak into various Rikers Island facilities, pleaded guilty Wednesday and will be sentenced to 15 years in prison.
And so ends one of the more bizarre sagas to cross the desk of Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro in her tenure. You would think most folks would like to escape Rikers rather than sneak their way in. The story was first reported in the Village Voice.
The 5-8, 340-pound Matagrano, 37, posed as an investigator and was somehow able to obtain credentials to slip past what is supposedly a robust security operation, including a coveted Gate One all-access pass, in February and March.
At the time, he was listed as a high-risk sex offender by the state. He had prior convictions for sodomy, first-degree sex abuse, burglary and criminal impersonation. He had previously done time at Rikers.
The Voice has learned that at least three inmates have alleged that Matagrano attempted to molest them while he was in the jails.
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson says that Matagrano pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal trespassing for entering Rikers and the NYPD’s Central Booking facility at Bronx Criminal Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 16.
Johnson says Matagrano was affiliated with a non-profit organization called Civil Advocates of New York, which performed counseling for inmates being released from Rikers. During his little rampage, he stole a department radio from the Robert N. Davoren Center and tried to steal a pair of plastic handcuffs at the Eric M. Taylor Center. He also tried to sneak a cellphone into Bronx Central Booking.
At the time, one of our sources described it as “one of the biggest clusterfucks in the history of Correction.” Indeed, what’s lacking from the DA’s account is what the DOC is going to do to prevent future such incursions.
Matagrano had previously gotten caught sneaking into two public schools while posing as a Board of Education quality assurance inspector. In 1996, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old, leading to the lifetime listing in the state’s sex-offender registry.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 3, 2013