Orlando pastor jailed on child sex-abuse charges hired attorney who had relationship with alleged victim

by

comment
ORANGE COUNTY JAIL
  • Orange County Jail
Last week we told you about Rev. Bryan Fulwider's arrest for alleged sexual abuse of a child, who reported sexual battery by the pastor between 2005 and 2010. Now, it has been revealed Fulwider's attorney had a past romantic relationship with Fulwider's alleged victim.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, court documents reveal the victim’s lawyer, Lisabeth Fryer, has asked that the attorney representing Fulwider, Jacob V. Stuart Jr., be removed from the case, due to a past romantic relationship between the alleged victim and Stuart in 2012, when she was over the age of 18.



Fryer’s motion states that Fulwider became aware of the relationship, which lasted two years, in 2012. The motion says that Fulwider began inserting himself into the relationship “as a continued means of control and domination... [becoming] angry as the relationship became more serious.” Fryer’s motion also contends that Stuart himself might be a witness in the criminal case since he knows both the victim and defendant, possibly disqualifying him from the case entirely.

Fryer states that the alleged relationship is a conflict of interest that violates the Florida Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights and rules of professional conduct for Florida attorneys. Meanwhile, Stuart Jr. filed a petition to strike the motion, calling his relationship with the victim “brief and casual.” Stuart — who is the nephew of District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart — denied any wrongdoing.



At a bail hearing on Thursday, Circuit Judge Elaine Barbour told the court she would address the update in the case on a later date. Fulwider is currently being held without bail on 30 counts of sexual battery on a minor by a person in custodial authority and faces life in prison if convicted.

During a controlled call set up by the Winter Park Police Department between Fulwider and the alleged victim, Fulwider referred to himself as a predator in the “eyes of the law” and allegedly told the victim that he loved her and that it would be best for him if she denied any allegations against him, according to an affidavit acquired by the Orlando Sentinel.

Barbour said she plans to make a written ruling this week after listening to the full 53-minute phone conversation between Fulwider and the victim.

Fulwider, 59, is the former co-host of “Friends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys,” which has aired on Orlando NPR affiliate WMFE-FM since 2012. Fulwider also served as pastor for the United Methodist Church for the past 3o years and was a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel’s 2018 Central Floridian of the Year award.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.