A West Texas high school teacher and girls’ athletic coach was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison after admitting he tried to send pornographic images to a 15-year-old female student with whom authorities believed he had a sexual relationship last year.
Charles Ray Fulmer, 44, appeared before U.S. Senior District Court Judge Sam Cummings in Lubbock federal court. The judge handed down the decade-long prison term after hearing from the prosecution’s witnesses and Fulmer’s defense team on Friday. This followed a May 30 court appearance where Fulmer pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, part of a plea agreement with the feds.
Previously, the ex-teacher was indicted on one federal felony count of enticement of a minor. However, in exchange for his guilty plea, a pre-sentencing report recommended a range of up to 27 months in prison and the dismissal of the enticement charge, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
In 2015, Fulmer began teaching in the Spur Independent School District where he coached numerous sports including the girls’ basketball team. In April 2017, he was accused of having a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old after her mother discovered intimate cell phone text messages between her daughter and the teacher.
Fulmer also coached the victim in several sports. Additionally, he was married and lived in the same neighborhood as the victim’s family. The girl was friends with his daughter.
The victim’s mother alerted Spur ISD about the inappropriate text messages. School district officials confronted Fulmer with the allegations. This led to a probe by the Texas Rangers Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. A forensic examination of Fulmer’s cell phone netted a pornographic image of a man and a woman having sexual intercourse. The teacher apparently tried to text it to the 15-year-old. Other text messages indicated the two had sex during spring break in March 2017. They also revealed the teacher had strong feelings for the girl and said he wanted to marry her when she was an adult.
During this time, the school district placed Fulmer on administrative leave. The findings of the investigation were reported to state and local child protective and law enforcement agencies as well as the State Board for Educator Certification.
After his arrest, Fulmer admitted to having a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old. The state charged him with the sexual assault of a child, a second degree felony. They set his bond at $150,000. In April 2018, though, a federal grand jury indicted Fulmer on one felony count of enticement of a minor. It carried a punishment of 10 years to life in prison, but it was dismissed when the sentencing judge accepted the plea deal.
In addition to the 10 year sentence, Fulmer must serve three years of supervised probation upon his release from prison. The special conditions of his supervision restrict his access to minors, the Internet, recording devices, alcohol, and pornographic materials. The judge also ordered Fulmer to obtain regular sex offender treatment services during his probationary period. He must register as a sex offender.