A Juneau judge decided during an arraignment Monday not to change bail conditions for a former Juneau chiropractor accused of multiple sexual assaults.
Judge Daniel Schally called the state’s case a strong one, but highlighted defendant Jeffrey C. Fultz’s cooperation with the court in his decision not to change the released conditions.
“The state continues to have severe concerns that if the defendant is not monitored or regulated in any way, he will find access to new victims,” said assistant district attorney Jessalyn Gillum during the bail hearing. “While this case is pending, there is no way to enforce it as the case now stands.”
Twelve different women have come forward to accuse Fultz of sexual assault or harassment while he was employed by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium as a chiropractor between 2014 and 2020. Gillum pointed out that Fultz mentioned that he had faced complaints of a similar nature at a Native health care organization in Arizona before being employed by SEARHC during questioning by the Juneau Police Department.
“The nature of these crimes means that they’re happening behind closed doors. Because we’re talking about people’s bodies and crimes that happen in the dark, it’s easier to push away,” Gillum said. “We are asking the court to reflect on the overall growing amount of evidence.”
Fultz allegedly used his personality and professional expertise to prey on primarily Alaska Native victims, Gillum said, demonstrating a clear pattern of sexual assault across at least a dozen victims over half a decade.
Gillum and many victims demanded that Fultz be returned to Juneau, so that authorities were able to monitor his behavior. While Fultz is specifically forbidden from any kind of chiropractic or massage work, Gillum said, there are concerns about his level of threat to the public if he remains unmonitored.
Many witnesses had difficulty coming forward, Gillum said, and Fultz’s alleged behavior left them hard-pressed to trust medical professionals or healthcare organizations. Victims were unanimous in decrying Fultz’s alleged predatory behavior.
“I refuse to continue being a victim,” read testimony from one of the victims that Gillum read aloud. “I refuse to allow him to exploit others.”
Attorney Natasha Norris, representing Fultz, pointed out Fultz’s full cooperation with the court in turning over his passport and posting $40,000 in appearance and performance bonds. Fultz has pleaded not guilty to all 17 charges he’s thus far been indicted for.
“What the state has presented as strong factual evidence, we are disputing that,” Norris said during the hearing via telephone. “My client is fighting this. He’s not going anywhere. He will be in Juneau for the trial.”
Schally said that with the large number of accusers, some geographic separation between the defendant and the accusers makes it simpler to keep the two from inadvertently interacting in a town as small as Juneau. Fultz is currently residing in a house near Durango, Colorado.
“I grasp that it is not easy to talk about these things. I also grasp it is not easy to wait for this process to proceed. And this process will take time to proceed,” Schally said. “When and if there is a trial, everyone will be heard.”
Currently, the next hearing is a readiness hearing scheduled for September.
SEARHC leadership previously said in a statement that the organization does not tolerate assault, harassment, or offensive behavior, and encouraged those with more information to contact the police. The organization is aware of the investigation and is cooperating with authorities, the statement said.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.