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 KENYAN EX-PROFFESOR GOINING TO JAIL FOR RAPE- IN PA

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OKELLO T
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PostSubject: KENYAN EX-PROFFESOR GOINING TO JAIL FOR RAPE- IN PA   Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:49 pm

By
Pocono Record Writer
February 02, 2008


STROUDSBURG A former East Stroudsburg University professor was sentenced Friday to 2 to five years in state prison for sexually assaulting a former student at his home in November 2006.

Upon completing his sentence, Richard Nyamwange, 51, will be placed on probation for five years on a second charge of indecent assault.

A jury convicted Nyamwange in September of sexual assault and other charges, but acquitted him of rape.

Also, because he is not a legal U.S. resident, the Kenyan native faces deportation, said the Monroe County District Attorney's Office. In addition, the victim is suing him for damages she has suffered due to his actions. She was not present at his sentencing.

Nyamwange maintains that what occurred between him and the former student that day at his home, though a mistake, was consensual.

On Nov. 22, 2006, he invited her to lunch and told her he would hand her a check for office work she had done for him. After lunch, he told her the check was at his home and had her follow him there.

At the house, he told her he had to go back out to get money from an ATM to pay her. He had her wait in his bedroom and left.

A short time later, he came back into the bedroom and wrote out a check. As he was about to hand it to her, he "fell" into her, knocking her onto the bed, and sexually assaulted her.

He then went into the bathroom, at which point she left the bedroom. As she was exiting the house, he caught up to her and handed her cash, which she threw back at him. She then left.

In Nyamwange's version of the story, she was the one who came on to him. A neighbor and her son-in-law testified for the defense that they saw Nyamwange and a young woman outside his home and that the woman appeared not to be in any distress.

The prosecution pointed out that the time the defense witnesses claimed they saw Nyamwange and this woman does not match the time frame of the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault.

Family and friends tearfully addressed the court at Nyamwange's sentencing, calling him someone worthy of leniency as a good man, a loving, faithful husband and father, an active church member and a productive citizen.

"He has four boys who need him," said his wife of 28 years, Monica Nyamwange. "He came a long way from poor roots. He lost an older sister last year. This whole thing has been devastating. His parents have been displaced by political turmoil (in Kenya).

"The family has been affected emotionally," she said. "If he goes away to prison, I'll have to raise (our youngest son) on one income."

His son, Joseph Nyamwange, said the family has survived on principles of love, grace and faith.

"After all the media coverage, after hearing random students call my father a rapist, after his conviction, it's been faith that's kept me going," he said. "For me and my brothers, this is a moment in our lives when our father's presence in our family is pivotal to us. I have faith that the court will see my father is a good man. He's my personal hero."

Others called Nyamwange an inspirational role model to many who know him, a man who does what he can to support his blind father and sick mother in Kenya.

"There's not a single female on campus who can testify that Richard ever looked at them in an inappropriate way," said Mamadou Kane, an associate professor of economics at ESU.

Defense attorney James Swetz requested a lenient sentence, citing the fact that Nyamwange has no prior criminal record and the support of family and friends, evident in more than 100 letters written to the court on his behalf. Swetz added that Nyamwange has not been charged with any other offenses since this case began, that he is not a sexually violent predator and that he is not likely to commit another offense.

Monroe County Court Judge Margherita Worthington later noted the victim herself in a letter to the court requested leniency for Nyamwange while expressing the pain his actions have caused her and her family.

"This is a tragedy affecting both the defendant's and victim's families, but it's a tragedy brought about by the defendant's actions," said Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski, urging the judge to impose an appropriate sentence.

"His supporters believe he is a good person," Rakaczewski said. "The victim, too, believed this. She believed she had nothing to fear.

"He took advantage of her trust," he said. "She told him 'no,' and he kept going. We can't blame her for being naive enough to think she was safe."

Worthington commented on the challenge of fashioning an appropriate sentence, having to weigh the seriousness of the charges and the public's safety against Nyamwange's history of good character.

"This is an extremely troubling case," the judge said. "Here is a man for whom this was aberrant behavior.

"While I am sympathetic to his family, there are two sides affected here," she said. "Only one person is responsible and that's the defendant. But for his actions, his own family would not be affected."

The judge did not find a probationary sentence, as requested by Swetz, to be an appropriate punishment. As a result, Nyamwange will spend at least the next 2 years in state prison.

The judge also denied the defense's request to allow Nyamwange to remain free on bail, meaning he wouldn't have to be in state prison, pending his appeal of the jury conviction. The judge disagreed with Swetz's argument that Nyamwange has no incentive to be a flight risk now that he has been convicted.
http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080202/NEWS/802020325
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