Judge denies former pastor's motion to dismiss

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Kevin Hoffman
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
— A Walworth County judge denied two motions Monday requesting misdemeanor charges be dropped against a former pastor accused of not reporting sexual activity among a group of boys.

Joseph Fultz, 47, of Milton faces five misdemeanor counts of failing to report sexual abuse or neglect for not alerting authorities, according to the criminal complaint.

Judge Robert Kennedy dismissed two motions filed by Fultz, but he will hear a third asking that the charges be dropped based on an insufficient complaint. District Attorney Phillip Koss submitted a revised complaint he said "should have corrected the insufficiency," according to court records.

Fultz is a former pastor at Grace Evangelical Church in Walworth.

The amended complaint details sex acts between five boys ages 5 to 12 between spring 2009 and March 30, 2011. The incidents took place at the Abbey Resort, Grace Evangelical Church and Faith Christian School, according to the complaint.

When police interviewed Fultz in April, he admitted Associate Pastor Wayne Rohde told him about an incident where three boys were fondling each other in the church bathroom, according to the complaint.

Fultz said he contacted the district church superintendent to discuss the issue, and they all agreed not to report it because of the children's ages, according to the complaint. He also said he contacted the families of the children involved.

Fultz said he was not aware of Wisconsin's mandatory reporting laws, requiring schools and churches report cases of suspected abuse.

Attorneys have the next few weeks to file briefs before a new motion hearing is set late this month or early November.

Last updated: 6:48 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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