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Columbia County judge resigns over misconduct allegations

Thursday, May 1, 2014 4:58 PM
Last updated Friday, May 2, 2014 2:53 AM
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A Columbia County magistrate judge resigned his office Thursday amid allegations that he had behaved inappropriately toward women he had encountered as a guardian ad litem, officials said.

Doug Nelson, who had been a magistrate judge since 2007, submitted his resignation at the Evans courthouse, said Columbia County Chief Magistrate Judge Jason Troiano. It was effective immediately, Troiano said.

Nelson had been notified earlier Thursday that Troiano had taken him off the court calendar and intended to refer him to the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Com­mission.

“While it is inappropriate to comment on the matter, I take the allegations very seriously,” Troiano said in a statement. “The integrity of Columbia County Magistrate Court and the judicial process are of utmost concern.”

At least two women have accused Nelson of inappropriate remarks and touching while serving as a court-appointed guardian ad litem
in their divorce cases, court officials said.

Tina Wright, of Grovetown, filed a report with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office on April 23 accusing Nelson of grabbing her when they met to discuss her custody case in May 2011. Wright told police she and Nelson met at McDonald’s on Columbia Road, and at the end of the meeting he grabbed her into a close hug and stroked her back, making her uncomfortable, according to the report.

“He pulled me, in public, to him, chest to chest,” Wright said Thursday. “Then he started stroking my back. I thought, ‘OK, this isn’t right.’”

Wright said she had been cautioned by her attorney not to make an official report while her divorce was being litigated. She said in the end Nelson did not fairly represent her case to the presiding judge and did what appeared to be very little work.

Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said no criminal investigation was underway in Wright’s case be­cause the statute of limitations had expired.

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LillyfromtheMills
13887
Points
LillyfromtheMills 05/01/14 - 06:27 pm
5
2
Judges and Preachers are supposed

To be beyond reprose (sp)

DMN
3
Points
DMN 05/01/14 - 06:52 pm
1
4
Clarification for Douglas Merlin Nelson

The allegations in this article concerning Doug Nelson should not be confused with the Douglas Merlin Nelson who has practiced law at 204 Thirteenth Street, Augusta, Georgia for over 18 years. Douglas Merlin Nelson is well respected and has an excellent reputation.

GiantsAllDay
9844
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/01/14 - 09:25 pm
6
4
Judges and cops get caught in

Judges and cops get caught in wrongdoing all the time. Their punishment is that they have to resign. Rarely do they get prosecuted like the rest of us unwashed masses.

Just Asking
17
Points
Just Asking 05/01/14 - 09:43 pm
4
1
Why does CC need 6 Magistrate Judges

http://www.columbiacountyga.gov/Index.aspx?page=2993

Richmond County has two. Couldn't Columbia County manage with 1 full time magistrate judge instead of 6 part time judges? How much is that costing in extra benefits and cellphones used for inappropriate texting. Obviously these are positions to help friends of the court, not provide the best, most efficient public service.

wildman
1157
Points
wildman 05/02/14 - 06:12 am
3
1
Great Point

CC has grown the government way to big. It's amazing what you have to do to put a small barn for storage on your property. They expect you to meet the requirements of a major contractor. Talk about under the table deals, there is one for you! I have loved living here for 27 years but it's about time to move across the river to Edgefild/McCormick County and enjoy life without Double Cross and his band of merry people. It would add less than 5 miles to the grocery store round trip. Great people with grow crazy leadership.

Oh by the way I agree we do not need 6 Mag. Judges.

GiantsAllDay
9844
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/02/14 - 07:49 am
4
1
Richmond County: thugs

Richmond County: thugs dressed in gang attire hit you over the head and take your money.
Columbia County: men dressed in suits and ties hit you over the head and take your money.

Bizkit
32852
Points
Bizkit 05/02/14 - 09:04 am
3
4
Dang hug someone to console

Dang hug someone to console them and you get this? None stated he made sexual advances did they? Go to a church and everyone is hugging each other-do it in public and you are a pervert.

Bizkit
32852
Points
Bizkit 05/02/14 - 10:03 am
0
0
Oh this has a history I'm

Oh this has a history I'm naive about. So this guy has a problem.

Discussionstarter
495
Points
Discussionstarter 05/02/14 - 11:18 am
5
0
Another example of more stink surfacing in Columbia County

Let's start by voting Cross out of office!

user123456
3
Points
user123456 05/02/14 - 12:55 pm
0
1
There are countless horrible

There are countless horrible things happening in this country and throughout the world every single day. This is not one of them. An accused HUG that occurred in 2011 (to a woman that was losing custody of her children) should not be news. And it certainly should not be a reason to defimate one's character, credibility or career. Consider the source of the accusations.

Riverman1
86761
Points
Riverman1 05/02/14 - 01:10 pm
2
0
Entire Program Suspect

The entire Columbia County guardian ad litem program is suspect.

Fiat_Lux
15892
Points
Fiat_Lux 05/02/14 - 01:13 pm
1
0
These woman are not loons and they're not wrong.

This guy has been making a lot of decent mothers' lives miserable for a long time, and he's not been keeping the best interests of the children at the front of his decisions and actions. He doesn't even talk to at least some of them when it could make a huge difference for the better for them.

This is not just a bunch of women looking for payback, but mothers desperately concerned about their children's welfare. Read a little more about the kinds of things he included in his rulings before you start defending him.

It's not appropriate for him even to touch a woman with whom he is supposed to have a strictly professional and potentially adversarial relationship, not even to console. He's not so stupid or emotionally immature not to know that.

Riverman1
86761
Points
Riverman1 05/02/14 - 02:57 pm
0
0
Columbia County GAL Program

Keep in mind, in Columbia County the Guardian ad Litem (GAL’s) are paid by the people involved. I assume this is often a cash payment. If the woman (or husband) doesn’t have enough money to pay I wonder how the opinion can be a fair one? In many jurisdictions GAL's are unpaid volunteers instead of what we have here.

How much do Columbia County GAL's make? Who are they? Where is the listing of the names and the money they made last year? This should be public knowledge. There are mega dollars involved. These people are taking in huge amounts in payments.

Riverman1
86761
Points
Riverman1 05/02/14 - 04:30 pm
0
0
Google This

If you Google "Family Court Reform Augusta,GA Superior Court District" you will see threads on other sites with numerous complaints about Nelson and at least one other GAL from as far back as 2012.

The Mick
827
Points
The Mick 05/02/14 - 06:33 pm
0
0
user123456

You sound like you need a HUG! The source is the Augusta Chronicle and the Chief Magistrate accepted the resignation immediately...I feel good about this.

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