Tag: Orlando Sexual Abuse attorney

Aunali S. Khaku Horowitz Law

FLORIDA HEALTH DEPT. TAKES ACTION AGAINST ORLANDO NEUROLOGIST FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

On February 17, 2021, the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) issued an Order of Emergency Restriction of Dr. Aunali Khaku’s medical license prohibiting the Orlando neurologist from practicing on female patents following allegations of sexual assault at his primary practice located at 392 Rinehart Rd, Suite 3040 in Lake Mary, Florida. Dr. Aunali Khaku was employed as an Associate professor of Neurology at the University of Central Florida. He is a neurologist at Orlando Health in Lake Mary and Orlando and holds hospital privileges at South Seminole Hospital and Orlando Regional Medical Center.  He was first licensed in Florida in 2012.

According to the Florida Department of Health, in November 2020, a 69-year-old woman scheduled an appointment with Dr. Khaku for medical treatment regarding a cyst in her brain, severe migraines, and high blood pressure. Dr. Khaku was alone with patient in the examination room. Khaku proceeded to examine the patient’s neck and then asked her to lift her skirt. He then allegedly began massaging her buttocks while she was face down on the table. He then told her to sit back up because he heard someone coming. He then walked around her and reportedly began rubbing her breasts. The patient froze and felt nervous. Dr. Khaku then told her that he has never done this before and that his wife granted him permission to seek sexual gratification elsewhere. Dr. Khaku allegedly propositioned his patient to have sex, to which she said no. The patient expressed her dismay and that she was extremely uncomfortable. According to the Emergency Order, Dr. Khaku then told her to keep this between them only. He then directed her attention to his erect penis under his scrubs, and patient left the room.

According to the Order, the Surgeon General deemed Dr. Khaku’s misconduct as a blatant violation of his patient. The move to restrict his practice on females was swift as he poses a “serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the patient’s under his care” according to the Order.

It is rarely pleasant going to a doctor, but when we do, we should be able to feel confident they’ll help us to feel better, not violate us. We seek out seasoned medical professionals who possess a good bedside manner, compassion and empathy. We believe the doctors and nurses at the office are carefully vetted, trustworthy and safe. It is unacceptable for any healthcare professional, including a doctor, to touch a patient in any sexual manner.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against medical professionals on behalf of patients who were inappropriately touched in their care.  Under no circumstances is a doctor or nurse permitted to have sexual contact with a patient.  If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery at a medical office or facility, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Fr. Stanley Gana – Diocese of Orlando

Father Stanley Gana

Diocese of Orlando

Fr. Stanley Gana Horowitz Law
Ordained: 1970

Leave of Absence: 1995-1997

Inpatient treatment: 1995, 1996-1997

Laicized (removed from priesthood): 2006

Assignment History:

  • 1970-1974: Assumption B.V.M. (Feasterville, PA)
  • 1972-1974: Chaplain, Boy Scouts of America
  • 1972-1974: Archbishop Wood Boys High School
  • 1974: Sacred Heart (Phoenixville, PA)
  • 1974-1980: Ascension (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1980-1985: Our Lady of Calvary (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1985-1986 Sacred Heart (Havertown, PA)
  • 1986-1995 Our Mother of Sorrows (Bridgeport, PA)
  • 1995-1997: Leave of Absence
  • 1995-2002: Immaculate Conception (Philadelphia, PA) (in res.)
  • 1997-2002: Chaplain, Discalced Carmelite Monastery
  • 2002-2005: Leave of Absence

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Stanley Gana:

Father Stanley Gana is a defrocked Philadelphia priest accused of molesting seven boys while on a trip to Walt Disney World in the 1980s. He stirred up some concern in an Orange County community where he owned a home from 1993 to 1999. Fr. Gana’s ties to Florida emerged in a deposition connected to a civil suit against Orlando’s Diocese. 

Of the Father Stanley Gana case, the 2005 grand jury said Gana “took advantage of altar boys, their trusting families, and vulnerable teenagers with emotional problems.”  Again and again and again, Gana’s victims and their families were threatened and intimidated when they attempted to speak up so that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia never faced the consequences of its leaders’ actions and Gana could remain a priest.  It is very clear that the Gana matter was particularly offensive to the members of the grand jury – and it is clear why.  

GANA HIMSELF BRAGGED ABOUT ALL OF THE SEXUAL ABUSE HE GOT AWAY WITH – TO HIS OTHER VICTIMS

Gana boasted to some of his victims in the 1980s that someone reported his sexual activities with boys to the Archdiocese in the 1970s, but that he “had blocked the inquiry” by telling the Chancery that the pastor at the parish was having an affair with the parish housekeeper. He then produced women’s clothing in the rectory, and suddenly the Chancery was not interested in stirring up anything at the parish.

In late 1980, Gana himself called the Chancery to report that his own nephew had told people that he was, among other things, a homosexual and a “deviate.”  Gana told the Chancery that his family had a problem with in-fighting and the nephew was merely trying to cause problems because he had emotional problems of his own.  Gana was told to “keep a low profile,” and to look into hiring a lawyer to protect himself from the rumors. No investigation was done into whether Gana may have abused his own nephew.

IGNORING THOSE REPORTS STARTED A NIGHTMARE CHAIN OF EVENTS FOR A 13-YEAR-OLD ALTAR BOY WHO DREAMED OF BECOMING A PRIEST

Around the time he made that call to smooth over any conflict headed his way because of his nephew, Gana was abusing a 13-year-old altar boy at Our Lady of Calvary.  Gana ingratiated himself into the boy’s life by exploiting his insecurity about a speech impediment, and soon the boy’s parents readily gave permission for the honored priest to take the boy on long weekends out of state.  The child, who came from a large family, was grateful for the adult attention, though he could have done without the obese priest’s attempts to wrestle with him. Soon, the trips and the overnight stays at the rectory so the boy could serve the early mass with Gana, started to involve the priest sexually abusing the boy.  Over the next four years, the boy was abused in all manner of ways – including countless incidents of sodomy – by the priest. When a milky fluid sometimes came out of him as he sat on the toilet, his mother said it was just because he was lactose intolerant.

In 1984, the boy started at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.  He wanted to become a priest himself. The abuse continued, but it was far less frequent because the boy was not allowed off campus very often.  Away from the constant manipulation and abuse, the boy began to plan to end the “relationship,” either by telling someone or by killing himself.      

As fate would have it, the dean of the college was Msgr. William Lynn, who eventually became Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Secretary for Clergy – and a convicted criminal for his role in the massive coverup of abuse and endangerment of children in Philadelphia.  When the boy asked for a referral to a therapist, Lynn gave it to him but did not ask any questions of the boy. He was, however, well aware of how much time the boy spent with Gana off-campus.

The boy eventually told the therapist about Gana.  Then he told two priests at the seminary about it. They said nothing.  The boy never reported the events to the police because his spiritual advisor at the graduate seminary told him that it would jeopardize his own chances of being ordained.  Somehow, the seminary rector (a fourth priest) also learned of the allegations and told the Chancery. He also told the Chancery that the boy was telling other seminarians what Gana did to him.  

Not long after, the Chancery took serious and swift action – but not against Gana. On Cardinal Bevilacqua’s personal command, the Chancery launched a full-scale “investigation” into the boy and rumors that he had “homosexual” contact with another seminarian. The Chancery told the boy that his chances of being ordained hung in the balance; if the rumors were true, his dream of being a priest (and his 7.5 years of preparation in college and graduate school) would be over.  

THE ARCHDIOCESE AGREED, THE BOY – SOON TO BE A FELLOW PRIEST- WAS “DAMAGED GOODS” AND GANA NEEDED THEIR PROTECTION

No one spoke with Gana about the boy’s allegations.  They were too focused on running the boy out of the priesthood.  Ultimately, the Chancery officials involved in the investigation told Bevilacqua that the boy was “damaged goods” who considered suing the Archdiocese for sexual abuse.  He was directed to leave the seminary; he would never be ordained anywhere in Pennsylvania.

Lynn would later testify before the 2005 grand jury; he told them that he believed the boy made up the story about Gana, despite all of the corroborating evidence to the contrary.

When he was finally interviewed about the allegations in 1993, Gana admitted that he “had some close calls” with boys (plural) over the years, but never had sexual contact with anyone, including the seminarian.  Lynn agreed with Gana’s conclusion that the boy simply “misinterpreted” affectionate touches, and that the boy was “troubled” due to his involvement in a “sex ring” with someone else he claimed was a victim of Gana.  According to Lynn, poor Gana was just caught up in a torrent of lies made up by men who wanted to blackmail him.

Gana remained at Our Mother of Sorrows in Bridgeport.  One of the Chancery officials who investigated these same allegations would letter tell a grand jury that it would have been “prudent” to be concerned about future victims, and Lynn agreed, but instead, they did nothing.

THE 1995 ALLEGATIONS

In 1995, another man came to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to report that he was sexually abused by Gana at Ascension in 1977, when he was 14 years old.  He had just told his mom that a close (adult) family friend was forcing him to engage in oral sex against his will. His mom got him into counseling and also turned to her church for support.  Gana, the assistant pastor, recommended regular meetings with the boy to help him through his recovery. Over the course of the next few months and years, Gana took his time grooming the boy and making him comfortable spending time alone (and sometimes overnight) with the priest. Gana initiated seemingly harmless physical contact that escalated and that eventually became oral sex and sodomy.  At that point, Gana had become so welcome in the family that he began abusing the boys’ brothers and a close friend.

He often bragged to all of them about all of the teenage boys he had sex with during his priesthood.  He also showed them nude photos of other boys that he said he had taken before and after having sex with them.  The man gave the Archdiocese the names of some of those other boys.  Nothing was done.

As a result of the 1995 allegations, Gana was sent for an evaluation at St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests.  During the course of his evaluation, experts opined that returning him to ministry was dangerous to parishioners and to the Archdiocese because of the public relations issues that could arise.  Gana was asked to resign from his pastorate and elected to obtain inpatient treatment at Southdown, another notorious treatment facility, in Toronto.

CANADIAN TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS AGREE TO CORROBORATE THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA’S LIES SO GANA CAN RETURN TO MINISTRY

The report that came from Southdown was confusing, to say the least.  Experts there concluded that Gana was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol and that the addiction caused him to abuse children.  No one had ever said that Gana was under the influence when he abused them – in fact, the boys had specifically denied ever seeing him drink.  Even Lynn would later testify that he was very surprised since he had never heard a suggestion of a substance abuse problem. In fact, Gana once sought a papal dispensation not to drink wine during Lenten services.  A second report assured Lynn that Gana “would not be diagnosed as a pedophile or an ephebophile, but rather as a person who acted under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

Less than two weeks later, Gana checked out of Southdown and went to his house in Florida.  Not long after, the Chancellor in Orlando called Lynn- neighbors were very concerned about all of the students who seemed to be living there all of the sudden.  There was no response.

Three months later, Lynn would look the victim in the 1995 allegations in the eye and swear to him that Gana was in treatment at the exact moment they were meeting when he knew, with certainty, that Gana was in Florida.

Three weeks after telling that bald-faced lie, in mid-1995, Gana wrote to Lynn from Slovakia.  He felt like taking an international trip with his teenage friends from Florida.  Above all, Gana was concerned about whether he could return to ministry since he left Southdown.  Lynn assured him it would be ok as long as he never received an official diagnosis of pedophilia. Gana remained on an unauthorized leave and eventually returned to Southdown six months later.  His therapist would eventually say that Gana was neither a pedophile or an ephebophile and that his risk for future sexual misconduct was “minimal.” The therapist was certain of his conclusions, particularly since he was only aware of the three victims Lynn told him about – and not the countless others that Lynn knew about. He did not correct any o of the other lies that Gana told the therapist either.  

In 1997, two years after he first reported his abuse (and that of his friend and brothers), almost nothing had been done by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  He offered to produce the other men to give statements, but Lynn told him not to discuss the allegations with them. He also said that they could do nothing because Gana denied all of the allegations, even though Lynn knew that Gana had admitted to the abuse while in therapy.

Despite the man’s numerous requests to meet with Cardinal Bevilacqua, the Cardinal refused to meet with the victim “lest it set a precedent i.e. for the Cardinal to meet with such individuals.”  Lynn put the man off by referring him to Catholic Charities to help him find a job.

Sister Pat Kelly, to whom the victim was referred for employment and housing assistance, grilled the victim about his abuse experience and asked for privileged therapy information.  She expressed that she did not see his experience with Gana as not abuse because it seemed to her that the victim was sexually satisfied by it.

GANA’S POST-SOUTHDOWN TREATMENT LIFE INACTIVE MINISTRY

Around the same time, Gana was due to be discharged from his second stint at Southdown.  Lynn would tell Bevilacqua about the therapist’s conclusions, and also that they (as an Archdiocese) should encourage Gana to seek ministry outside of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, presumably so the media would not be as interested in the story.   Alternatively, he should be assigned as a chaplain to a religious community to minimize his profile.

Cardinal Bevilacqua assigned Gana as chaplain to the Carmelite nuns.   He would reside at Immaculate Conception parish, “along with other priests who were recovering from alcoholism and other problems.”  The pastor was never told that Gana had a history of abusing children and should not be around them. He was told by Lynn that Gana was free to do supply ministry at any Philadelphia parish that needed a priest, except, coincidentally, any of the parishes where Gana had already been assigned.  

That prohibition was empty – less than a month later, Gana was celebrating mass, complete with altar boys, at Ascension parish in Kensington where the group of brothers and their friend was abused.  

THE FORMER SEMINARIAN FINDS OUT ABOUT THE ASCENSION MASS AND AGAIN PLEADS FOR THE ARCHDIOCESE TO PROTECT KIDS INSTEAD OF GANA

The ousted seminarian learned of the Ascension mass from a relative and immediately wrote to the Cardinal – he wanted to impress upon the Chancery how much of a danger Gana was.  Cardinal Bevilacqua directed Lynn to reply and invite him to the Chancery. Lynn was not to tell him that the Cardinal had read the letter personally.

At their meeting in early 1998, Lynn apologized to the man (who was also his former student) for how the allegations were handled.  Lynn told the victim that he now believed that Gana abused him now that others had accused him of similar conduct. Even a Slovakian student that was residing in Orlando told the Archdiocese he was sexually abused in “exchange” for Gana sponsoring his student visa.  He spoke of one of the brothers abused at Ascension and how he “will never be right” because of what Gana did.

Yet, despite his apparent depth of understanding the danger and the depth of its effects, Lynn reaffirmed that Gana would remain in ministry because no one ever diagnosed him as a pedophile.  

Gana celebrated Easter Mass at the Carmelite nuns’ monastery in 1998.  He was assisted by a cadre of altar boys.

ONLY THE PUBLICITY FROM THE SCANDAL IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON BROUGHT ABOUT GANA’S REMOVAL

By February 2002, the depth of the scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston was quickly becoming regular national news.  Suddenly, Cardinal Bevilacqua knew that scandal was possibly at his doorstep. He very quickly suspended multiple priests from ministry because the Archdiocese was suddenly “unable to provide and sustain an adequate level of supervision” for all of the accused priests in active ministry. Gana was finally suspended from ministry.   

In late 2004, faced with the possibility of involuntary laicization and a lengthy canonical trial, Gana agreed to cease all ministry and live a “supervised life of prayer and penance.”  

Apparently, that was too much supervision for Gana or too much responsibility for the Archdiocese.  Within months, Gana asked for and was granted, a dispensation from his vows as a priest.  He was formally removed from the priesthood (laicized) by the Vatican in 2006.  

Gana now resides in Orlando, Florida, and listed on the Diocese of Orlando’s 2020 list of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Orlando in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

 

HEALTH DEPARTMENT DISCIPLINES ORLANDO MASSAGE THERAPIST AFTER MULTIPLE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REPORTS

HEALTH DEPARTMENT DISCIPLINES ORLANDO MASSAGE THERAPIST AFTER MULTIPLE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REPORTS

massage sexual lawyerOn Friday, November 20, 2020, the Florida Department of Health ordered the emergency restriction of the license of massage therapist, Andres Lopez Ramirez, prohibiting his practice of massage therapy on female clients in the State of Florida.  The Emergency Order was entered in response to four sexual misconduct complaints by clients at three different business locations. The incidents of sexual assault allegedly occurred at the Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa of Lake Nona, South Park Chiropractic in Orlando, and J. Sterling’s Essential Spa in Winter Park.  Lopez Ramirez has been a licensed massage therapist since March 2017. 

In February 2020, Lopez Ramirez performed a full body massage on a 33-year old female client he had seen several times in the past at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa of Lake Nona in Orlando.  The session started with her lying face down as usual. During the massage, he instructed her to turn over on her back. Laying face up, he failed to place the sheet high enough to cover her breasts, leaving them completely exposed according to the Order. He reportedly then began rubbing the woman’s breasts, without her consent, leaving her shocked and paralyzed with fear.  In early March 2020, Lopez Ramirez resigned from Hand & Stone of Lake Nona. On March 12, the woman went back to the spa and reported that he had touched her inappropriately during the massage.

In June 2020, Lopez Ramirez worked at South Park Chiropractic, when he treated a 52-year old woman he had seen multiple times in the past. The massage started as usual with her laying face down on her stomach. He began massaging her leg, with each stroke getting higher and higher until he reached her inner thigh. Lopez Ramirez went further and touched her vaginal area with his hand. He then grabbed her. The woman was stunned and just looked at him in shock. He left the room, she got dressed, paid for the massage and quickly left.

On June 9, 2020, a 48-year old woman and her son arrived at South Park Chiropractic in Orlando for a massage booked prior to her readjustment appointment. She told Lopez Ramirez of the pain she was experiencing in her right arm and index finger and the sciatic pain on her left side. The massage started as usual with her laying face down. He started massaging her back, legs and hips. He then allegedly adjusted her left leg, but failed to re-secure the sheet leaving her vaginal area exposed. As he continued to massage her, he told her she was “very tense.” He then reportedly began to rub between her vagina and anus and over her pudendal nerve with his left thumb. The pudendal nerve is the main nerve of the perineum. It carries sensation from the external genitalia and the skin around the anus and perineum. Stunned, the woman froze initially, but due to his continued rubbing and stimulation of her nerve, her body started experiencing involuntary contractions. As she tensed up, he allegedly told her to “breathe through it.”

Lopez Ramirez then told her to turn over on her back. He covered her with the sheet but did not secure it. He massaged her shoulders, arms and upper chest area. When he rotated her arm, the sheet fell exposing her breasts. When he finished the massage, he told her to see him again. She dressed, and went to the waiting room until she was called to be seen by the chiropractor. When the chiropractor saw her, he asked if she was okay and requested she speak with him privately in the back room.  She started to cry and the chiropractor asked his wife to speak with her. The woman told her she was inappropriately touched during the massage and Lopez Ramirez was immediately fired. The woman reported the incident to Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

On September 26, 2020, a 66-year old woman booked a one hour deep tissue massage at J. Sterling’s Essential Spa in Winter Park. As she lay face down, Lopez Ramirez failed to secure the sheet covering her. While he massaged her legs, he spread them apart, making her uncomfortable. He then allegedly placed his hand between her legs and touched her vaginal area with his fingers. He asked, “Is this ok?” Shocked and feeling violated she said “no.” She turned over on her back, and he finished the session. When she dressed and left the room he told her she was tense and should continue to get more massages. 

The woman went to speak with the receptionist, who was with other clients. When asked if she wanted to leave a tip she said no and would call her from the privacy of her car. Once in her car, she started crying. She told the receptionist that Lopez Ramirez had touched her inappropriately during the massage. The receptionist said she would tell the manager. When the manager confronted Lopez Ramirez, he denied the accusation. He was fired. When the woman got home she told her family and friends what had happened. She then reported the incident to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. 

According to the Department of Health, Lopez Ramirez flagrantly disregarded the laws and regulations governing massage therapists by willfully violating the massage therapist-patient relationship.  The Order ensures he can no longer pose an immediate, serious danger to the public’s health, welfare and safety, pending a final hearing by the Department.  When clients book a massage, it is to decompress from the stresses of life. They trust that the massage therapists employed at the spa are carefully vetted and safe to engage with the public. It is unacceptable, immoral and unlawful for any employee to touch a client in a sexual manner.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at Hand & Stone and other spas and resorts. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Central Florida chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting woman with dementia

Central Florida chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting woman with dementia

According to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, in mid-November 2019, Altamonte Springs chiropractor, Kent Klonel, 58, was accused of trying to sexually assault a woman in her 80s. He was caught naked from the waist down in the room of the woman who suffers from dementia at the nursing home where she lives. Investigators said Klonel knew the woman and that she can’t speak or move on her own.

Deputies said when a nursing assistant went to check on the woman, the door to her room was closed when it should have been open. According to the affidavit, she went to open it and realized the door had been barricaded shut with a chair. When she finally got it open, she saw Klonel naked, with no pants, no underwear and his outer shirt unbuttoned. The victim was lying in her bed naked from the waist down with no diaper on. 

Records show, the nursing assistant called for help after Klonel shut the door. When they opened the door again, Klonel was dressed except for his shirt. The victim was still naked with her knees bent up, according to authorities. 

Investigators said Klonel made inconsistent statements following the incident, including that he barricaded the door because he was using the restroom and did not want anyone to walk in on him. He claimed the victim didn’t have pajama bottoms on but she was covered with a blanket.

According to the warrant, investigators believe Klonel was in the process of sexually battering the woman when he was interrupted by the staff of the assisted living facility. 

In mid January 2020, Klonel was arrested on charges of attempted sexual battery and battery by touch or strike. He was given a $35,000 bond and ordered not to return to the nursing home and to wear a GPS monitor. He works at Klonel Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center in Altamonte Springs.

For most people the thought of having to live in a nursing home is a frightening one. Despite the trained experts and knowledgeable staff employed to support a loved one’s needs, it remains a nightmarish experience for various reasons. Safety and security are the top concerns for patients. When placing a loved one in the care of professionals, It is expected that employees at the facility are carefully vetted and safe. It is unacceptable for anyone to touch a patient with dementia who lacks the capacity to consent in a sexual manner.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against health care facilities on behalf of patients who were inappropriately touched at their facilities.  A nursing home employee is never permitted to have sexual contact with a client. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery at a nursing home, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Former Winter Park Pastor Accused of Child Rape Commits Suicide

Former Winter Park Pastor and Christian Radio Host Accused of Child Rape Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

Rev. Bryan Fulwider, a former minister at First Congregational Church of Christ in Winter Park and co-host of the popular radio show “Friends Talking Faith,” was found dead at his Altamonte Springs home on Sunday night. He was pronounced dead on the scene.  The Seminole County Medical Examiner later ruled the death a suicide.

Imprisoned on charges of more than 30 counts of child sexual battery, in early October, Fulwider was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl more than 100 times between 2005 and 2010. She was a parishioner at First Congregational Church of Christ, where he served as Pastor.

According to prosecutors, the case against Fulwider was “extremely strong,” in part because of a phone call recorded by police in which he admitted the abuse to his accuser. “It would be as if I was a predator and you were victimized by me,” he said.  Fulwider posted a $700,000 bond and had been released from prison for just over a week prior to his death. He was facing life in prison if convicted. 

The role of pastors in the church is to support the spiritual needs of their parishioners. Education and often counseling in times of need are responsibilities with which they are entrusted. Someone who sexually violates young children has no place working in the Church. Any ministry in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility if they fail to properly screen potential clergymen and protect their parishioners. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by clergymen in central Florida. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.