Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NHRMC physicians assistant charged with drugging teen girls still affiliated with hospital system

Charles Edward Walton Jr. is a physicians assistant working for New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He was arrested this month and now faces five separate charges of misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office)

WILMINGTON — Charles Edward Walton Jr., a physicians assistant-certified employed by Novant Health-New Hanover Regional Medical Center, was arrested Nov. 8 on five counts of misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

The charges arose after two alleged victims of Walton filed police reports in September. The two girls, both of them 15-years-old, alleged that Walton supplied them with alcohol, cannabis and Ambien during sleepovers at his home. Walton was released the same day as his arrest on a $10,000 bond. He is due in court Tuesday morning.

On Sept. 16, a district court judge granted two of the alleged victims temporary no-contact orders that also prohibit Walton from being near Anderson Elementary School and Ashley High School. The order was entered ex parte, in Walton’s absence, “because the harm that is intended to be prevented would likely occur” if Walton knew of the no-contact order in advance, according to the order.

Victim statements included in court filings claim Walton groomed teenage girls by supplying them with liquor and cannabis at his home. He later provided them with Ambien pills from his own prescription, according to the statements (one statement is written in first-person; the other is in third-person and appears to be written by an adult familiar with legal processes).

“Since the Defendant is a PA-C at the hospital, [victim] did not initially question the use of Ambien because he explained that Ambien was just like Melatonin and it would help them sleep,” according to one statement. “Defendant, having vast medical knowledge, has used Ambien, alcohol and marijuana to take advantage of Plaintiff and potentially, other minors.”

Court filings list NHRMC’s flagship 17th Street campus as Walton’s place of work. Through a spokesperson, Novant Health confirmed as of Nov. 18 the hospital system has “a team member by the name of Charles Walton in our system.” (Novant corporate policy is to not comment on personnel matters or release private information other to confirm employment.)

As of Monday, Nov. 22, Walton’s biography is still included in NHRMC’s online physician directory.

After Port City Daily asked Novant Health again Monday whether or not Walton is still employed at the hospital, the spokesperson replied that there is still “a team member by the name of Charles Walton in our system, however, this team member is not actively working in our facilities.”

Update: Novant Health provided an additional statement after publication, saying Walton was suspended as soon as the hospital system became aware of the charges. Port City Daily has requested the date of suspension:

“Novant Health protects the privacy of all current and former employees, and we also respect every individual’s right to due process. Our position on team member privacy has led to misleading reports that we enabled a team member to report to work despite knowing that they face serious criminal charges. To be clear, Mr. Walton was suspended pending investigation as soon as we became aware of the charges against him. I can confirm that Charles Walton remains on leave, following recent developments. We will have no further comment on the matter.”

Five minors, all girls ages 15 and 16, are referenced by their initials as victims in warrants for Walton’s arrest. One alleged victim stated in court documents that in June she was invited by the ex-step daughters of Walton to spend the night at his house.

During sleepovers and out-of-town trips, Walton allegedly smoked and drank with the girls, while encouraging them to do the same: “When he would drink and smoke with us he would tell us that he was doing this, ‘as a learning experience for us in order to prepare us for the future,’” according to a victim statement. 

In recent months, according to one victim’s filed statements, the encounters with Walton became “even more inappropriate.” He allegedly asked the girls about their sex lives and recorded videos of them using drugs through an in-home camera network, then leveraged that information as blackmail. 

Walton allegedly required the victims to share their location with him on SnapChat at all times, and forwarded them photo albums on Google that contained footage he captured on his indoor cameras.

“The reason why I had previously felt safe with Chip is that he had told us that he was a Doctor & that he was helping to prepare us for the future with drinking and alcohol,” according to a victim statement.

“As time went on I started to realize how much I am in danger by him. I believe that he will try to contact me and he will try to blackmail me. I am worried for my overall safety as I do not know what he is capable of.”

One victim allegedly woke up in bed with Walton once with no memory of what happened the night before. Walton allegedly provided minors with both Ambien and alcohol together, a combination widely known to be dangerous and potentially lethal.

Both victims whose statements are included in court documents reported they are fearful for their safety after filing police reports against Walton, who allegedly keeps guns in his home. 

According to the North Carolina Medical Board, there is one licensee statewide by the name of Charles Walton. He received his PA-C license in 2009, and, according to the Medical Board, currently has three “active supervisors”: one with an NHRMC address, one at Wilmington Health, and a third associated with Coastal Pulmonary Medicine, P.A.

Walton did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment on his arrest. 


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