Nigerian professor at Alcorn State University to be jailed for putting pepper in sonís eyes, genitals

Posted by Odili.net on 2006/10/27 | Views: 2415 |

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Nigerian professor at Alcorn State University to be jailed for putting pepper in sonís eyes, genitals

Festus Oguhebe will be sentenced Nov. 14 by Hinds Circuit Judge L. Breland Hilburn

A college professor faces sentencing Nov. 14 in Hinds County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to felony child abuse, court records show.

* University waiting for case's outcome before deciding job status of business professor

A college professor faces sentencing Nov. 14 in Hinds County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to felony child abuse, court records show.

Festus Oguhebe, a Byram resident and Alcorn State University business professor, initially faced five counts of child abuse stemming from a March 2005 arrest. He is the father of six young children.

Prosecutors could not be reached to explain what happened to the other charges.

On Tuesday, Alcorn spokesman Christopher Cason said university officials are awaiting results of the sentencing before considering Oguhebe's job status after learning of his plea.

ASU employees are expected to be of "good moral character," he said.

When reached at his home, Oguhebe told a Clarion-Ledger reporter to "stop doing stories - this is hurting my family and six children. Stop calling us and disturbing us." He would not comment further.

However, Oguhebe's attorney, Robert Shuler Smith of Jackson, said his client pleaded no contest to one count of child abuse Oct. 17. The other charge, he said, was not prosecuted.

Smith said he wants the professor to receive probation and keep his job. "We believe this was an isolated incident," Smith said.

A native of Nigeria, Oguhebe was accused of abusing his 11-year-old son by "placing him in a bathtub, then putting hot pepper juice in his eyes, on his penis and buttocks; and also by tying his hands behind his back and covering his body with ants," according to court records.

The professor also was accused of abusing his son by "whipping and striking the child in such a manner as to cause serious bodily injury," according to records filed by Hinds Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Purnell.

Oguhebe's arrest in March 2005 marked the second time he had been charged with child abuse. In February 2005, he was charged with one count of felony child abuse, according to Hinds County records. He bonded out on that charge.

The children are now living in "good care" in the metro Jackson area with other family members, said Henry Glaze, commander of the juvenile and child protection divisions at the Hinds County Sheriff's Department.

"I'm pleased ... he is not causing his children to go through the trauma of a trial," Glaze said.

Oguhebe punished his children for things such as incomplete schoolwork and attempting to steal food in their own home during forced fasts, according to the affidavits filed in Hinds County Court.

It was a case of "good intentions (to discipline his children) that went somewhat bad," Smith said.

Smith said he hopes to introduce evidence from a sociologist at the sentencing phase about disciplinary actions in other cultures.

Nearly 1,000 child-abuse cases are investigated every year by local law enforcement agencies and the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Glaze said. There were 16,723 investigations of child-abuse cases in Mississippi in 2005, said DHS spokeswoman Julia Bryan.

© 2006 Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS

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