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April 25, 2005

Report says fugitive wanted in US is living in Bermuda

From: Royal Gazette - Bermuda - Apr 25, 2005

By Sam Stevens

A fugitive wanted in the United States in connection with a violent sex attack has reportedly been hiding out in Bermuda for the past three years, The Royal Gazette has learned.

According to an article in the Midland Reporter Telegram newspaper of western Texas, Franklin Wellington Fahnbulleh III, 49, has been commuting back and forth between a home in Southampton and an apartment he owns in New York since being indicted on two criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault on a former work colleague in November 2002.

Mr. Fahnbulleh, born in Liberia and who is reportedly deaf, was the dean of students at Howard College in Howard County, Texas and is accused of pulling a female accounts clerk out of her chair, yanking her head back by her hair, putting his tongue in her mouth, biting her breast and trying to pull her pants down while making vulgar comments.

A civil suit brought against Mr. Fahnbulleh by the alleged victim, who is not named in the Reporter Telegram article written by Texan journalist Bob Campbell, was also filed in the U.S District Court in Midland, Texas, with the woman seeking an undisclosed amount of money in damages.

She reportedly claims she sustained neck and back injuries as a result of the alleged attack, after tearing her lumber disc an injury which required the insertion of a titanium rods in her spine and resulted in the loss of use of her right arm, post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries.

When contacted yesterday, Mr. Campbell said he had been given access of the civil suits file which apparently runs to several hundred pages which lists an address for Mr. Fahnbulleh in Bermuda.

Mr. Campbell also revealed the civil file contains further allegations of past sexual misdemeanours by Mr. Fahnbulleh - including the revelation that he was expelled from Gallaudet, a school for the deaf in Washington D.C. in the mid-1980s after it was alleged he sexually assaulted one of the female students.

According to the newspaper article, attempts by Houston-based attorney Kenneth McGwire, who is in charge of the civil suit against Mr. Fahnbulleh, to have the accused man extradited have fallen on deaf ears, with Howard County District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson refusing to submit a written request to the US Justice Department- who Mr. McGwire maintains is keen to set formal proceedings in motion.

The reason for the District Attorneys reluctance to act is not known.

Mr. McGwire, however, is apparently anxious to have Mr. Fahnbulleh extradited back to Texas to answer the criminal charges so that the civil suit can proceed expeditiously.

Attempts by The Royal Gazette to confirm the story with local Immigration officials were unsuccessful last night.

When contacted by telephone, Home Affairs spokesman John Burchall said he was not prepared to bother the Chief Immigration Officer Martin Brewer with the query on a Sunday, merely on the basis of information contained in a foreign newspaper article.

And Police media relations spokesman Dwayne Caines yesterday insisted the issue could only be handled by the Immigration Department and would not comment.

Copyright 20©01 The Royal Gazette Ltd.