A Department of Corrections inmate has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the NMI against DOC officials for allegedly denying the inmate immediate, proper medical care when sought, resulting in an emergency surgery that allegedly could have been avoided.
Repeat child molester and killer Steven R. Aguon filed a complaint Friday against DOC chief Wally Villagomez, director Georgia Cabrera, Jose Pangelinan, Dr. Gregory Kotheimer, and DOC medical officer Carmen Iba for allegedly violating his civil rights when they denied him immediate medical care when he reported pain in his testicle. The pain allegedly later resulted in him being brought t the hospital’s Emergency Room.
Aguon, who sent a handwritten request to the District Court to allow him to file his lawsuit as an indigent, is suing for $500,000 in punitive damages.
The inmate noted that he exhausted all his resources from within DOC but to no avail, claiming that DOC officers tend to cover each other up, burying his complaints within the system.
“I exhausted all remedies available to me and filed multiple grievances. But, still no response to any of them. I followed all protocols of DOC and still, all the defendants violated my rights to access adequate medical care,” he said.
Chief Judge Ramona Manglona has yet to issue a decision whether or not she would allow Aguon to proceed with his lawsuit as an indigent.
According to Aguon, back in July, he filed for a sick call request with the medical unit within DOC, seeking to be seen by a doctor over pain he felt in his testicle that lasted about two to five months.
“I asked again and again to be seen by a medical doctor. I couldn’t articulate the pain. All I was told by my medical staff, Carmen Iba, was that I would be scheduled for an appointment with a doctor,” he said.
Aguon claims that he had been waiting for his appointment for 16 days until he finally asked that he be brought to the emergency room over the pain he was feeling. However, Aguon was allegedly denied that request too and was instead told to just wait for his appointment.
On or about July 21, Aguon said he approached a different officer, John Aguon, and asked him to ask Dr. Gregory Kotheimer to see him for testicular pain to which the officer said he would forward his request and get back to him. Aguon claims nothing was done.
Then, on July 22, after another officer failed to grant his request for medical attention, Aguon said he called NMPASI and sought an attorney. He was referred to attorney Jean Rayphand, who personally called DOC’s medical unit to figure out what was going on.
At around 9:30am that same day, Aguon was allegedly taken to the ER where an emergency surgery was conducted on him and his right testicle was removed.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Aguon is a 41-year-old sex offender with several prior convictions, including involuntary manslaughter and sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in Chalan Kanoa in 2017.
Prior to the 2017 sexual abuse case, Aguon was also charged with sexually abusing girls before he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and served a prison term for the killing of a Kosraean man in Kannat Tabla in 2001.