Jan. 6 Detainee Christopher Quaglin Attacked in Jail, Denied Proper, Safe Diet, Attorney Says

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A jailed Jan. 6 defendant who previously said “I fear I may die here” after being denied celiac-safe food was “viciously” assaulted by another inmate, causing an injury that required eight stitches, his attorney said.

Christopher C. Quaglin of New Jersey has been held without bail since his arrest in April 2021 while he awaits trial on charges related to the protests and rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He is charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding police, civil disorder, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Christopher Quaglin with his wife Moria, who fears her husband could die without medical attention in federal custody. (Courtesy Quaglin Family)

In early March, Quaglin was beaten by an inmate at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, according to his attorney, Joseph D. McBride. When he learned about the incident, McBride demanded an emergency video meeting with Quaglin, but that was denied, he said.

“It took about two weeks, two and a half weeks, before I was able to actually see his face,” McBride said. “By that time, the majority of the swelling had gone down, some of the wound had begun to heal. His eye was shut completely for about 10 days.

“Softball, just shut like a boxer,” McBride said. “He received eight stitches.”

McBride declined to discuss details of the attack “out of fear for his life.” Quaglin defended himself after he was “viciously attacked,” McBride said.

Quaglin was given antibiotics to take, along with ibuprofen for pain and swelling, but the medications were confiscated and he wasn’t allowed to take them, McBride said.

McBride said he spoke to Ted Hull, superintendent of the jail, but he was “not helpful.”

“All allegations of any type of misconduct had been denied,” McBride said. “And of course, the blame for the fight itself was was put on Chris.”

As a result, Quaglin was put in solitary confinement, where he has spent the majority of his incarceration. “Chris is currently in the hole, 45 days in solitary confinement for his participation in a fight where he could have been killed,” McBride said.

Celiac Disease Worsens

Quaglin’s celiac disease has worsened since he arrived at Northern Neck Regional Jail, McBride said, because the jail will not provide the gluten-free diet Quaglin needs to be able to properly digest food.

“He has excruciating abdominal pain, worthy of hospitalization,” McBride said. “Each time he eats a non-celiac-safe meal, he bleeds out of his rectum. Sometimes he bleeds out of his mouth. He breaks out in lesions on his back. He becomes weak.”

Quaglin has survived by purchasing his own food from the jail commissary, a privilege he is denied whenever he is put in solitary confinement, McBride said.

“He has lost 30 pounds. You’re losing this weight because you can’t eat. That’s how serious, that’s how painful it is,” McBride said. “The pain of starvation is easier to deal with than the pain from the type of celiac reaction that he has.”

When he is unable to access safe food from the commissary, Quaglin simply can’t eat, McBride said.

“When you’re saying, ‘Here eat poison or don’t eat poison, the decision to not eat poison is not a choice,” he said. “It’s just, you know, it’s duress. It’s extreme duress, it’s medical torture.

“The jail, the government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Department of Justice, has been on notice about this for a long time,” McBride said. “And they’re continuing to behave in this reprehensible manner.”

By Joseph M. Hanneman

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