A Northfield, Minn., middle school teacher faces a felony assault charge after prosecutors say she bit off part of a man's ear during a drunken altercation in a St. Paul greasy spoon early Sunday.
Susan Mukuhi Mwarabu, 30, of Rochester, Minn., was charged Monday with third-degree assault — inflicting substantial bodily harm — after the 4 a.m. incident at the Uptowner Cafe at Grand Avenue and Lexington Parkway.
Mwarabu is in her first year teaching sixth grade at Northfield Middle School, according to Superintendent L. Chris Richardson. He said a reporter's call was the first the district had heard of Mwarabu's arrest and charge.
"We received contact from her home indicating that she was home sick today," he said.
While her class was in session Monday, Mwarabu made her first appearance in Ramsey County District Court.
A judge granted her a conditional release. She will either be taken in by Project Remand, a nonprofit organization that oversees conditional release subjects, or be required to post a $5,000 bail bond. She remained in custody at the Ramsey County Jail on Monday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, police were called to the Uptowner at 4:22 a.m. about an assault.
The victim, a 33-year-old man identified as C.R.H., said he had been eating at the cafe with a group of friends.
Four women, including an apparently intoxicated Mwarabu, were eating at another table.
C.R.H. said in the complaint that his
group of friends did not know any of the women.
One of C.R.H.'s friends commented about one of the females eating french fries, according to the complaint.
One of the women gave the friend a look, the complaint said, and "they went about their own separate business."
Mwarabu then approached the friend who made the comment and "leaned down, licked his face and appeared as if she was going to throw up," the complaint said. The friend gently pushed her away.
Mwarabu then leaned toward C.R.H. and licked his ear. C.R.H. "moved her back from him," according to the complaint, but Mwarabu leaned in again and bit off part of his ear.
Mwarabu's friends asked C.R.H., who was now bleeding, if he was OK. "He was in shock," the complaint said.
An employee of the Uptowner told the women to leave.
As they left, one of C.R.H.'s friends told police, he saw Mwarabu pick up the piece of C.R.H.'s ear from the floor and put it in her mouth, according to the complaint.
C.R.H. was treated by a plastic surgeon at a hospital and told that some of the ear would grow back. The doctor said it would take time to determine if more surgery would be needed.
Northfield's Richardson said the district would have to learn more details about Mwarabu's case before determining an appropriate response.
John Brewer can be reached at 651-228-2093.
Click to view image: 'cfa0a0ef6161-20100315__mwarabu__susan_mukuhi.jpg'
Tags: teacher, drunken brawl, ear biter,
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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