Lawsuit Says Ex-Student Was Molested

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
March 2, 2005

FORT SMITH - A former student at Subiaco Academy claims in a federal lawsuit that he was sexually abused by a priest at the school in the 1970s.

In the lawsuit filed Feb. 22 in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Joffre J. Miller of Texas alleges that the Rev.

Nicholas Fuhrmann, a former teacher at the school, sexually abused him from 1976-79 on the pretext of giving him massages after boxing practice.

Miller was 13 when he entered the school in 1975.

The suit names Subiaco Academy and Fuhrmann as defendants.

Fuhrmann lives and works at Subiaco Abbey in eastern Logan County but is not involved in teaching or in ministries, Abbot Jerome Kodell said Tuesday.

"This is a terrible accusation," Kodell said. "He [Fuhrmann] denies it and we deny it, and it's a case of recovered memory."

Miller's attorney, Lori Watson of Dallas, said Tuesday that Miller suffers from psychological problems and came to the realization three years ago that they are the result of the abuse.

Arkansas law states that if a minor is the victim of sexual abuse but doesn't discover he was abused until he's an adult, he has three years after the discovery to file suit.

Fuhrmann was sued in federal court in 1994 by another Subiaco student who alleged the priest sexually abuse him. The case was dismissed when U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren ruled the statute of limitations expired in 1986 for the student to file a lawsuit.


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