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Forum staff reports, Published December 15 2009

Court upholds dismissal of molestation claim

BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit that accused a former Fargo dentist and school board member of sexually molesting a teenage patient in the 1960s.

Jeffrey Dunford, who filed the suit, had sought compensation for emotional injury he said he suffered due to an assault he remembers happening in the late 1960s.

Dunford said in his suit that the assault was committed by Trueman Tryhus Jr. while Dunford was in his dentist’s chair.

Tryhus, 78, now lives in Arizona.

He practiced dentistry in Fargo from 1958 through 1993, according to court documents.

Cass County District Court Judge Frank Racek dismissed Dunford’s suit in April on grounds it was filed too late.

In his appeal to the state Supreme Court, Dunford argued Racek should not have dismissed the case because it was brought within two years of when Dunford discovered his injury.

In its ruling upholding Racek’s decision, the Supreme Court said evidence showed Dunford discovered his injury no later than the mid-1990s and his sexual abuse claim was not filed within two years of discovering his injury.