LOOKING BACK: A teacher from a local school remains behind bars until age 82

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Steven Craig Fults

Taking a look at a past case in Murfreesboro involving a teacher convicted of five counts of rape, twelve counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and seven counts of statutory rape of a male high school student... It appears as if Steven Craig Fults continues to serve his time behind bars at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Tennessee.

You may recall Fults was a 7th grade teacher at Barfield Elementary School at the time of the accusations. The incidents occurred between 2001 and 2003. Today, the victim is 31 years old, just 4 years younger than the age of Fults when he sexually abused the child who was only 15 at the time.

The victim first met Fults while he attended Barfield in South Murfreesboro. He told the courts that Mr. Fults allowed him and other students to visit his classroom and play with his Beanie Babies or use his computer.

After the victim graduated from Barfield Elementary School, he went on to attend Riverdale High School. It was at that point that Fults contacted the student and asked him if he would like to be his "assistant" for the Barfield soccer team. Soon after that, the sexual encounters occurred and the young boy told the courts how helpless he was when the grown man, who he said he looked up to, started touching him on a regular basis. In other words, the teacher was using his authority to groom the child into doing what the adult wanted to do.

According to the Department of Justice, grooming is a method of building trust with a child in an effort to gain access to and time alone with the victim. The department also suggested the adult offender may assume a caring role , which did occur as the victim told the courts that Fults would often talk to him about life. When the victim grew older he eventually got the courage to tell Fults no more. He testified that Fults broke down in tears suggesting he wanted to marry the young boy and take care of him.

Fults was convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison before the honorable Judge Don Ash in Rutherford County. After the conviction, Fults fought the courts to have the case reheard, which is something that was not readily reported at the time.

In 2009, Fults filed a post-conviction appeal. He argued that trial counsel was ineffective and that the post-conviction court erred in rejecting the challenge to his sentence because it was previously determined on appeal. However, the Tennessee Court of Appeals refused to allow the case to move forward, siding with the lower courts.

Fults will be released when his sentence ends on October 26, 2047. At that point, he will be 82 years old. He is not eligible for parole.

Source:

No. M2007-02570-CCA-R3-PC - Filed January 9, 2009
State v. Steven Craig Fults, No. M2004-CCA-R3-CD, 2006 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 520, at *49 (Tenn. Crim. App. July 7, 2006)
TN Dept. of Corrections
TN Sex Offender Registry

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Barfield, Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, school, Steven Craig Fults
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