STROUDSBURG — Former East Stroudsburg University professor Richard Nyamwange remained stoic and his family and friends kept silent Monday as a jury acquitted him of rape and convicted him on other charges related to the Nov. 22 sexual assault of a former student at his home.
Meanwhile, Nyamwange’s victim cried tears of relief and vindication as her family hugged her while the jury read its verdict. Since two of the charges on which Nyamwange was convicted each carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, he might face up to 20 years, depending on what the judge decides, said the prosecution.
Nyamwange, who was not called to testify, was convicted of the following:
- Sexual assault, defined as sex without the victim’s consent.
- Aggravated indecent assault.
- Indecent assault through indecent touching without the victim’s consent.
- Indecent assault through rubbing the male sexual organ against the outside of the female sexual organ.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski and Stroud Area Regional Police Detective Susan Lyon presented the following case through evidence and witness testimony, some of which has been erroneously reported or not made clear in previous articles:
Nyamwange and the victim, his former student and employee, were friends. He owed her money for work she had done for him and invited her to have lunch with him so he could pay her.
They met for lunch on Nov. 22. Nyamwange told her he had the check back at his East Stroudsburg townhouse and she agreed to follow him there after lunch.
When they arrived, painters were working in the house. Nyamwange told her the check was in his third-floor bedroom and took her on a tour of the house before leading her to the bedroom.
By then, it was 2:25 p.m. and she told him she had to be at her job at 3 p.m.
Instead of handing her the check at that point, Nyamwange told her to wait in the bedroom and make herself comfortable while he left the house to get money to pay the painters. Since they were friends, she trusted him and didn’t feel strange about waiting in his bedroom even though that was her first visit to his house.
Nyamwange returned at 2:45 p.m. and, while handing her the check, “leaned into” her, knocking her back onto the bed with him on top, and then sexually assaulted her.
She was wearing a long skirt, not a short one as reported in a previous article.
During the assault, she repeatedly told Nyamwange to stop, but did not scream because she feared what he might do to her. After the assault, he got off of her and went into the bathroom while she left the room.
On her way back downstairs, Nyamwange caught up to her and tried to hand her cash. She threw the cash back at him and then left the house.
At the time, she did not call 911 because she wasn’t sure if what had happened was actually rape and felt she didn’t have enough proof of it as such. She later called and met with her boyfriend at Stroud Mall.
She then called her mother and, through her boyfriend, told what happened.
After the victim’s boyfriend drove her to her mother’s house, where she changed clothes and put the clothes she had been wearing in a bag, she was taken to Pocono Medical Center.
There, she was interviewed by police and underwent a forensic examination.
Swab samples were taken from saliva on her breast and seminal fluid on the front of her underwear and sent to the state police crime lab in Wyoming.
On Nov. 24, police had her make several taped phone calls to Nyamwange to get him to admit to raping her.
In those taped calls, a pleading, apologetic and at times tearful Nyamwange told her he didn’t mean to have sexual contact with her and begged her to meet with him to “settle” the matter rather than tell anyone what happened.
Police later arrested Nyamwange and executed search warrants on him and his house.
Two vials of his blood were obtained and sent to the Wyoming crime lab.
DNA in the saliva sample matched his DNA, while “a mixture of DNA” in the seminal fluid sample “did not exclude him and the victim as contributors to that fluid.”
Nyamwange told police the victim was the one who came on to him.
Yet, he was the one who had apologized to her in the taped phone calls for sexual contact taking place.
Defense attorneys James Swetz and Michael McHale called Nyamwange’s neighbor and her son-in-law, who was visiting next door with her daughter and grandchildren on the day of the incident, to testify.
The neighbor and her son-in-law said they saw Nyamwange and “a young woman” outside his home and that Nyamwange introduced the woman to them.
They said the woman and Nyamwange appeared friendly with each other and that she didn’t seem to be in any distress.
They said she told him goodbye and left after he introduced her to them.
Although the description they gave of the woman is similar to that of the victim, they couldn’t recall her name or what she was wearing or driving.
This might lead one to believe the woman supposedly seen with Nyamwange was the alleged victim, which would contradict her story of having been assaulted if she appeared so friendly with him to a neighbor and visitors.
But, the prosecution pointed out that the time defense witnesses said they saw Nyamwange with the woman was between 2:25 and 2:45 p.m.
This was the same time period during which he reportedly had the victim wait in his bedroom while leaving the house to get money to pay the painters before later returning to assault the victim. This would mean the defense witnesses were mistaken about the woman they saw with him at that time being the victim.
In the end, the jury believed the victim’s story, all except for the rape charge.
Nyamwange, the victim and their respective supporters all declined to comment after the jury verdict.
“There are a number of potential appeal issues we plan to discuss,” Swetz said.
Rakaczewski said, “We believe the jury reached the right decision.
The victim’s credibility was put under attack and she was put under attack, but in the end the jury believed her and now she has been vindicated.”
Nyamwange will be sentenced Nov. 5 before Monroe County Court Judge Margherita Worthington.