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Sheriff: Man Accused of Drugging, Raping 11-Year-Old Girl Attacked by Fellow Inmates

A Massachusetts man charged in connection with the death of his 11-year-old great-niece, whom investigators say was drugged and raped, was beaten by inmates hours after he faced a judge, officials confirm.

Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger tells The Boston Herald that Miguel Rivera was attacked by an inmate Tuesday night in the Essex County jail in Middleton, and that other inmates joined the melee. The Boston Herald was the first to report the incident.

Rivera is now in solitary confinement as authorities investigate the assault, which involved four inmates. Rivera's injuries were described as "some bumps, bruises and a small cut" by Coppinger in a statement.

The reported attack came hours after he was arraigned on the charge of rape of a child with force on Tuesday, and a week after he was charged with permitting substantial bodily injury to a child and misleading a police investigation. Rivera is being held without bail.

Prosecutors allege that the 58-year-old Lawrence man drugged and raped his great-niece, Precious Wallaces of Haverhill, in December.

First responders went to a Jackson Street residence on Dec. 15 for a call requesting medical assistance, where they found Wallaces unresponsive and took her to Lawrence General Hospital. She was then taken to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where she died a few days later.

Police say Wallaces had fentanyl in her system, and that her great-uncle waited 13 minutes before calling 911 as he flushed drugs down a toilet.

Authorities say a cause and manner of death has not been ruled yet in Wallaces' death, and that Rivera may face more charges.

Rivera's next court date is March 13.

The investigation into Wallaces' death is ongoing.

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