Fulwider, 59, faces 30 counts of sexual battery by a person who is in a position of custodial authority to a minor. He was ordered held without bond.
According to the arrest report, police met with the alleged victim on October 1. The victim told them that Fulwider allegedly committed the assaults between 2005 and 2010, when he was the senior pastor of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.
Fulwider denied the allegations.
A representative of the First Congregational Church released the following statement to the press:
“Our church community has been deeply pained to learn of the arrest of Bryan Fulwider, who resigned from First Congregational more than seven years ago,” the statement said. “At this time, we have no information about this matter, but we pray that any victim associated with this be given privacy in order to move forward and heal.”
Sources say Fulwider was senior pastor at First Congregatoinal Church for 13 years, ending in 2012. He is also a co-host of a public radio program called Friends Talking Faith radio and a member of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.
Cases alleging sexual misconduct between pastors and minors aren’t uncommon in Florida. Just last month, Miami preacher Yunior Beltres was arrested for allegedly raping two minors and forcing them to watch each other’s assault.
Beltres, 54, faces two counts of sexual battery on a minor. He turned himself in and was ordered held without bond. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to Miami-Dade police, the two victims, aged 9 and 10, reported the alleged assault on July 1. They told investigators that Beltres raped them earlier in the year at his home in Miami.
The first victim, who is 10 years old, told the police that Beltres assaulted her multiple times in May in front of the second victim, who is 9. The 9-year-old victim alleged that Beltres did the same thing to her in June, in front of the 10-year-old victim.
In addition to the alleged rape, the 10-year-old child told police that the pastor forced her to perform oral sex on him. The 9-year-old said the pastor touched her breast area with his hands and mouth. Beltres’ relationship with the two girls is unknown.
Beltres is a pastor at Evangelistic Ministry of Columns of Fire, 2052 NW 22nd Ct. Records show he has been preaching at the church for over 20 years.
Sexual battery is a serious offense for two reasons: first, a conviction carries very serious penalties. Second, simply being accused carries enormous social stigma and may even require registration as a sex offender.
Cases of this kind require the help of a competent attorney who can conduct an independent investigation and analyze all of the evidence, find witnesses, and build a good defense.
South Florida Sexual Battery Attorney