Officials: Pastor knew of sex club
Joseph R. Fultz, 46, of 103 Prairie Drive, Walworth, is charged in a criminal complaint with five misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse or neglect.
Sex acts among six boys ages 5 to 12 years old also happened at a Fontana resort, Fultz’s home and his church between the spring of 2009 and March 30, 2011, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday by the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office.
Fultz recently resigned as pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Walworth, according to a source at the church.
Fultz was the clergy who investigated the boys’ conduct at Faith Christian School, according to the complaint.
When reached at his home Wednesday, Fultz repeatedly responded “no comment” to questions. Fultz would not say if he still was affiliated with Faith Christian School. No one could be reached at the school.
Fultz is free on a $5,000 signature bond. His initial court appearance is set for 8:15 a.m. Thursday, June 23, before Walworth County Judge David Reddy.
Fultz was not a participant in the “wiener club.” No adults were accused of any sexual misconduct, according to the complaint.
The mother of a Faith Christian boy told authorities Fultz talked with the children about the incidents and told them not to tell anyone about what was going on, the complaint reports.
Prosecutors allege that Fultz had reasonable cause to suspect the children had been abused, and he was bound “in the course of professional duties” to report the incidents to Walworth County authorities.
According to a criminal complaint:
The last known incident was March 30 and happened with three boys in the bathroom at Grace Evangelical.
Parents told Walworth police about separate incidents of sexual contact at the Abbey Resort and at Fultz’s home during a Bible study in 2009.
In December 2009, an incident happened in the bathroom of Faith Christian School.
Fultz acknowledged to police in April that he knew the children involved in the sexual incidents and that their families were members of Grace Evangelical Free Church.
Associate Pastor Wayne A. Rohde told Fultz about three children being caught March 30 fondling each other in the church bathroom during a religious youth group meeting.
Rohde is now the pastor of Grace Evangelical.
Fultz told police that he contacted the superintendent of the district church and another pastor to discuss the situation. It was agreed that the incident was non-reportable because of the ages of the children.
A search warrant was executed June 3 against school administrator Craig Skrede. Authorities seized a report written by Skrede about a Jan. 7, 2010, parent meeting attended by two fathers, Fultz and the administrator.
The group discussed the sex assaults at the school and agreed that school officials would monitor the situation so assaults would not continue.