Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Please tell me this is some mistake

I hear stories like this all the time, but thankfully I never know the accused or the alleged victims. Not this time...
NASHUA, N.H. --A high school math teacher and prominent chess player has been arrested on felony rape and incest charges.

Severine Wamala, 45, of Nashua, faces 19 counts of incest and 11 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, Detective Lt. Richard Sprankle said. Wamala heads the math department at Lowell High School in Lowell, Mass.

Wamala was arrested Tuesday and was being held on $1 million cash bail while awaiting arraignment Wednesday in Nashua District Court, Sprankle said. Each of the 30 charges carries a maximum of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Wamala is accused of sexually assaulting three young women, ranging in age from their teens to early 20s, Sprankle said.

Nashua police began investigating him after getting a report of the alleged abuse Monday night, Sprankle said. Lowell police also are investigating, Sprankle said.

In addition to teaching, Wamala also organizes NorthEast Chess tournaments around the region, and runs the high schools chess club. His daughter and two sons all are nationally ranked chess players, according to various chess Web sites.

Wamala is a native of Uganda who became a U.S. citizen after immigrating in 1988 to get his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, the Boston Globe has reported.
I know Severine. He and his family are members of the club. He comes by the BCC and the Metrowest Club all the time. I've played him; I've played his kids (in fact, his daughter took a nice chunk of my rating points away back in April). I've played in his tournaments.

I'm shocked; I hope it's some mistake. I keep reminding myself, "innocent until proven guilty." I'm still shocked.

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