JACKSON, Miss. – A college business professor who allegedly punished one of his children by covering the boy with ants and putting pepper juice in his eyes has been sentenced to two years in prison for child abuse.
Hinds County Circuit Judge L. Breland Hilburn sentenced Alcorn State University professor Festus Oguhebe on Monday to five years in prison with three years suspended and two to serve.
Oguhebe, a Byram resident, pleaded no contest in October to one count of child abuse. With a no contest plea, a defendant is not admitting guilt, but is not contesting the charges.
The judge allowed Oguhebe to remain free on bond until Jan. 5.
Oguhebe, a native of Nigeria, was arrested in March 2005 on five counts of felony child abuse, stemming from the bizarre punishment methods he allegedly used on his 11-year-old son.
The punishment included "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.
Oguhebe had maintained that he used punishments that were customary in his native Africa.
The children, ages 7 to 13, were allegedly punished by their father for things like not finishing school work and taking food from within the household when they were told to fast, court records reveal.
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 County Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Purnell.
Affidavits filed in Hinds County Court had claimed the professor beat his children with extension cords, choked and sometimes made them sleep outside as punishments.