Catholic Principal Faces Sexual Assault Claim
By Evan Prieskop
Courthouse News Service
August 16, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CN) - A former Catholic school student claims in court that his principal sexually assaulted him "several times a week ... under threat of withholding his diploma."
John Doe claims Cathedral High School principal Stephen Furches sexually assaulted him repeatedly during his last two years at the school in El Paso, Texas, in the late 1980s.
Doe sued NOSF Inc. fka the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Lafayetta, La., the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, and Furches, in Santa Fe County Court.
Doe claims that Furches "sought out John Doe on a regular basis, using his authority as principal to call him out of class or approach him in the school locker in order to engage in inappropriate contact. Several times each week, Furches would isolate John Doe in his office or the shower after swim practice to sexually abuse him by reaching into his pants and touching his genitals."
He claims that during his senior year, "Furches required that plaintiff report to his office several times a week, ostensibly to monitor his progress at calculus, but in reality in order to sexually assault him under threat of withholding his diploma."
The complaint continues: "At the completion of his remedial studied, defendant Furches demanded that John Doe go to dinner with him, once again threatening to withhold his diploma if he did not comply. At this dinner, Furches ordered two bottles of wine which he shared with plaintiff, although he was only 18 years old at the time. After dinner, Furches and plaintiff returned to Furches' car, where Furches demanded that John Doe perform oral sex on him, which he refused. Instead, Furches performed oral sex on plaintiff. Afterwards, the defendant warned John Doe that he should keep quiet about the abuse because Furches was a powerful man and no one would believe him."
Doe claims that he dropped out of college, "was unable to maintain a steady job for many years," and that he "turned to substance abuse in order to cope with the long term psychological effects of the mistreatment which he suffered at the hands of Furches."
Doe seeks damages for battery, premises liability, negligence, infliction of emotional distress and vicarious liability. He is represented by Clark Harmonson, with Gilstrap Harmonson, of El Paso.