Christian school staff won’t face criminal charges

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Darryl Enriquez
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
— Staff at a Williams Bay Christian school will not face criminal charges linked to sexually curious students, but they must participate in training on the mandatory reporting of such activities.

Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss confirmed Monday that staff at Faith Christian School are clear of misconduct allegations. The criminal case remains centered on Joseph Fultz, former pastor of Grace Evangelical Free Church in Walworth, he said.

“I don’t believe that it is necessary to charge Faith Christian School or any of its staff based on what we now know,” Koss said. “They will have an in-service training on the mandatory reporting law.”

An agreement was reached to allow county workers into the school to talk with staff about the legal reporting requirements instead of letting the school handle it internally, Koss said.

In a related manor, Walworth County Sheriff’s Chaplain Charles Sweetman has sent invitations to clergy throughout Walworth County to attend July 6 training on mandatory reporting hosted at the sheriff’s office.

Sweetman said invitations were sent to 147 churches and 24 Christian schools.

“We’re getting quite a few responses from clergy who see it as a good idea to attend,” Sweetman said. “The problem is that the law in Wisconsin is always evolving, and there’s a need to know what needs to be reported and within what time frame.”

Koss will spend 45 minutes at the seminar speaking about the law and 15 minutes taking questions.

If professional staff, such as teachers and religious leaders, suspect or know of sexual assaults, they must report their suspicions to the county human service agency, which is responsible for investigating.

Five misdemeanor charges were filed earlier this month against Fultz, 46, of 103 Prairie Drive, Walworth. Fultz is charged in a criminal complaint with not reporting child abuse or neglect for a sexual incident at Grace Evangelical, two incidents at a Fontana resort, one at Fultz’s home and one at the school.

The sex acts involved a total of six boys, ages 5 to 12. The sex acts happened between 2009 and March, according to a criminal complaint.

None of the adults at any of the locations were involved in the sexual conduct, according to the complaint. During an incident at the resort, the boys talked about a “wiener club.”

Fultz talked to Faith Christian students about some of the incidents. He even pulled them from classes, the complaint alleges.

Fultz told police he was aware of the five incidents involving sex, and had went to Faith Christian “to talk to the children about the repeated incidents and told them not to let anyone know what was going on,” the complaints alleges.

Fultz said he contacted the superintendent of the district church and another pastor to discuss the church incident. He said it was agreed that the incident was non-reportable because of the ages of the children.

Fultz has denied requests for interviews.

School officials said Fultz had no official capacity at the school, making it unclear as to why he got involved with questioning the children. Fultz told police he knows the children involved because their families were members of Grace Evangelical, according to the complaint.

Fultz's only connection to the school was that his son was a student there, according to a school statement.

In a June 16 letter, school officials predicted Faith Christian would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

"The board and administration are confident that when all of the facts are revealed, not only will it be clear that Faith Christian has acted responsibly but that the students of Faith Christian remain safe from harm," the letter states.

Fultz’s next court date is Aug 22 before Walworth County Judge David Reddy. He is free on a signature bond.

If found guilty on all counts, Fultz could face up to 30 months in jail.

Last updated: 5:21 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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