Women Testify Support Group Founder Fondled Them

Victims Of Child Sex Abuse Say Fulghum Betrayed Trust

March 17, 1992|By Joel McCord | Joel McCord,Staff writer

A founder of a support group for the victims of child sexual abuse stroked her breast and caressed her inner thigh, a former member of the group testified yesterday.

David B. Fulghum, co-founder of the Onionskin Cooperative, nuzzled her neck and stroked her buttocks, saidanother woman, a niece of Fulghum's girlfriend.

The two women, both victims of previous sexual abuse, testified during the opening day of Fulghum's trial in District Court in Glen Burnie that they trusted him because of his position, but he betrayed that trust, they said.

Fulghum, 43, of Annapolis, is charged with four counts of a fourth-degree sexual offense for allegedly fondling three women and a 15-year-old girl. Two of the women and the 15-year-old are cousins. The fourth woman, a member of the support group, lived with Fulghum and his girlfriend, Gloria Arnold, who founded the Onionskin group 2 1/2 years ago with Fulghum.

Arnold had gone to visit her grandmother on the Eastern Shore, leaving her and Fulghum alonein the house, recalled the woman, a 20-year-old student at Anne Arundel Community College who had moved into the house after joining the support group.

"There was a lot of touching," she said, her hands fluttering nervously in the air. "On my leg, up under my shorts. It was kind of soft, slow."

She trembled as she spoke, recalling that Fulghum hugged her. "He rubbed my side and touched the side of my breast."

Her bottom lip trembled. Her face twisted and she sniffed asshe talked. Her hands went frequently to her mouth and nose.

She said she didn't tell anyone until she learned other young women who had been in the house claimed Fulghum fondled them, too.

"I didn't think anybody would believe me," she explained.

Fulghum concentrated on each woman as she testified, alternately taking notes and shaking his head as they accused him of coaxing them to talk about their abuse, then getting too familiar as he consoled them.

"He was hugging me and he started rubbing my back and reached down to my buttocks.I pulled away. I thought it was very strange," said a 19-year-old George Mason University student.

"He kissed my neck and caressed my back. He brought his hands down to the top of my bottom," added a 25-year-old woman.

Fulghum's lawyer, Alan H. Legum, argued earlier that such behavior "would be totally against the character and reputation" of his client.

Fulghum, who developed a resource manual for incest survivors, "was very sensitive to this issue," Legum said. "He had a very good relationship with these young ladies."

The defense is to begin presenting its case today.

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