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WOMAN'S TERM IN RAPE CASE UPHELD WOSU TIED TO ABUSE OF 7-YEAR-OLD TWINS BY 2 MEN

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester has upheld a woman's conviction and 25-year prison term for a 1991 sex attack on 7-year-old twin girls, court officials said Friday.

In a 3-2 decision, the Appellate Justices upheld the Nov. 26, 1993 conviction of Joy Wosu, now 36, on 66 counts of rape, sodomy and child endangerment and the prison term she got from Senior County Judge Rose D. LaMendola on Jan. 18, 1994.

Ms. Wosu, a former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office worker, and two men, Domenic Emeka Okongwu, now 44, and his cousin, Louis Eze, now 34, were all convicted of abusing the girls. Separate appeals for Okongwu and Eze are pending before the Rochester court.

Based on a hearing two months ago, Presiding Justice M. Dolores Denman and Justices John F. Lawton and Richard C. Wesley upheld the conviction and the sentence of Ms. Wosu. Appellate Justices John P. Balio and David O. Boehm said they would have granted her a new trial based on what they found to be confusion among jurors about the dates on which the girls were molested.

Joel L. Daniels, Ms. Wosu's attorney, said he will ask the Court of Appeals in Albany to review the case.

Judge LaMendola imposed 25- to 50-year prison terms on the two men, both Nigerian citizens.

The judge gave Ms. Wosu, a Seventh Street resident, a 25-year prison term.

Following a three-week jury trial, Okongwu, Eze and Ms. Wosu were convicted of sexually assaulting the girls in Okongwu's Debra Lane home on Thanksgiving Day 1991.

Okongwu, a former Nigerian Army officer and Buffalo public school history teacher, and Eze, a Niagara Falls commercial chemist, were also convicted of sexually assaulting the girls in Okongwu's home on other occasions in June and September 1991.

Ms. Wosu, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Nigeria, testified at her trial that she had nothing to do with molesting the girls and was not even present in Okongwu's flat on the date she is accused of sexually assaulting them.

Prosecutor Kimberly Phelan Kelsey, who handled the Wosu appeal for the Erie County district attorney's office, said the victims were the daughters of a woman who had to return to Nigeria for medical reasons after they were born. They were taken into a Buffalo foster home and Okongwu gained access to the girls, whose family he knew, through Family Court proceedings in 1991, Ms. Kelsey said.

The girls' foster mother reported the abuse after she found the girls imitating a sex act in her Buffalo home and they told her that was what Okongwu "does to us," Ms. Kelsey said.

The men will be deported after serving their sentences, she said.

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