Toothless Thug Assaults, Robs Nun In Newark Church

| March 12, 2010

NEWARK — Newark police are searching for a man who barged into a convent yesterday and attacked a nun before fleeing with a computer laptop.

At about 11 a.m., Sister Obiama was doing work in her convent cell at St. Lucy’s Parish when she heard a noise, said Jim Goodness, spokesperson for the Newark Archdiocese. She got up to investigate and discovered a man inside the nunnery.

The assailant repeatedly punched and kicked the 55-year-old nun and stole a laptop before running off from the parish, a complex of buildings made up of the church, a rectory, and the convent on Amity Place in the Central Ward, said Rich Wohltman, the church sexton.

Sister Obiama came away from the attack with a large knot on the side of her head. She was sent to a local hospital and was expected to be released soon, Goodness said.

"She is being evaluated and we’re very hopeful what harm was done is very superficial," he said.

No arrests have been made in the case and her attacker remains unidentified, said Detective Josephine Santaniello, police spokeswoman.

Shocked church members who had come to the church to pray said they believe they saw the attacker two hours before the assault. Joe Scurese, a church member, said he saw the man standing in the back porch of the church and was asking for money.

Wohltman said the man was turned away. After the attack, Wohltman looked at video footage from the church with police to identify the suspect.

"He came in looking suspicious," Wohltman said.

Bob Cascella, a long-time member of the parish, couldn’t believe someone could attack a nun.

"I am stunned," Cascella said. "All our nuns are beautiful. All our nuns are fantastic."

Sister Obiama, who performs "medical ministry" for the parish, is originally from Nigeria, Goodness said. The nun, who has been with St. Lucy’s for four years, is part of the Daughters of Divine Love Congregation, a religious order with 700 nuns across the world and are known for their distinctive blue habits.

"She is faithful and very nice," Wohltman said about the sister. "It’s unbelievable this would happen."

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Category: Church Security

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