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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Popular Central Florida minister and radio host arrested on 30 counts of sexual battery against a minor

Posted By on Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 12:12 PM

  • Photo via Bryan G. Fulwider/Facebook
A popular Central Florida minister and radio show host was arrested and booked into the Seminole County jail on Wednesday, following an allegation of sexual abuse by a minor victim who reported having been sexually battered by the pastor between 2005 and 2010, while in a position of authority.

According to an arrest affidavit, Rev. Bryan Fulwider, who co-founded a weekly radio show in 2012 called "Friends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys," which airs on Orlando NPR affiliate WMFE-FM, faces 30 counts of sexual battery of a person younger than 18, according to an arrest warrant issued by the Winter Park Police Department.

Fulwider, 59, is an ordained minister and father of two. He has served as pastor for the United Methodist Church for the past 30 years, according to the Three Wise Guys website. Fulwider lists himself as a teacher, preacher and writer on his personal blog, which had until 2013 amassed 1,144 profile views.
  • Photo via Bryan G. Fulwider/Facebook

Fulwider also serves as the CEO of Building Us, a nonprofit aimed at creating "better communities through conversation and education that engage the human spirit and inspire deeper – personal, cultural, and religious – understanding, acceptance, and cooperation."

In February, Fulwider and the radio show were announced as a finalist for Orlando Sentinel's "Central Floridian of the Year" award, "because of their attempts to use faith to unite the community."

According to a statement by the Winter Park Police Department, which issued the warrant, investigators met Tuesday with the victim, who reported having been sexually battered by Fulwider continuously between March 31, 2005 and March 31, 2010. Fulwider was the senior minister at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park during this time. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.

In an early-morning blog post on Thursday, WMFE reported "the Reverend Bryan Fulwider has been arrested and charged with sexual assault on a minor by a person in a position of authority."

The post was reported by a WMFE reporter but cites "WMFE’s policy to engage an independent reporter to cover a story where a person directly associated with WMFE becomes the subject of a news story," saying "WMFE will engage an independent reporter for future coverage to avoid the appearance of bias or favoritism in our reporting."

The post notes Fulwider's show "is an independent radio show carried by WMFE since 2012. It is also carried by WMFV." The post also says co-host Imam Muhammad Musri said he was unaware of the charges and arrest of Fulwider, and declined to comment.

The pastor's Facebook and other social media accounts read like a Who's Who of Central Florida faith leaders and boldface names from cultural and arts institutions. This is a developing story.
Ed. note: This publication's weekly opinion segment, "From the Pages of Orlando Weekly," airs twice weekly on WMFE.

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