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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Ex-NHRMC physician assistant who drugged teens gets supervised probation

Charles Edward Walton was a physician’s assistant working for New Hanover Regional Medical Center. He was arrested in November for misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. (Courtesy New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A former physician assistant with Novant Health-New Hanover Regional Medical Center is on supervised probation after he pleaded guilty last month to giving alcohol and drugs to teenage girls during sleepovers.

Charles Edward Walton, 47, was issued a 24-month suspended sentence by Judge Jeffrey Noeker Apr. 18 on three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. If he breaks probation, he would serve two consecutive 45-day sentences in prison.

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

In November, Walton was arrested and released the same day on a $10,000 bond after two of his victims filed police reports in September. He also faced two counts of misdemeanor child abuse, which were dismissed since a defendant can only be convicted under two misdemeanor charges at once.

“We were concerned about meeting the elements for child abuse,” Samantha Dooies, assistant to the district attorney, added. Dooies explained both the 45 days in custody and the 24 months of probation were the maximum punishments allowed under the charges.

In two victim statements filed in court, Walton was accused of hosting sleepovers and out-of-town trips over the summer of 2021 with multiple teen girls and supplying them with moonshine, tequila, bourbon, seltzers, marijuana and, eventually, Ambien, a sleeping pill commonly used as a date rape drug when mixed with alcohol.

The victim wrote she did not know Ambien would cause her to black out. Another statement, written in third person, said the girl woke up in bed with Walton with no memory of the night before.

“Since the Defendant is a PA-C at the hospital, [the 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 the statement.

A Novant Health spokesperson said Walton was suspended as soon as the hospital system became aware of the charges but did not respond to repeated requests for the date of suspension. Walton was no longer with the organization as of December 2021, the spokesperson confirmed.

The recounts describe Walton making the teens increasingly uncomfortable as time went on by engaging in inappropriate conversations, playing “Never Have I Ever” to learn more about their sexual behavior, and initiating touching, back rubs and foot rubs. The filings say he leveraged at-home security footage of the girls using drugs as blackmail.

“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,” the victim wrote.

Throughout his two-year probation, Walton is ordered to maintain a job, pay for victims’ therapy, destroy any videos or photographs that he may have of the girls, comply with the no-contact orders in place and requirements of the medical board. He cannot be alone with any minor females or make contact with the victims, except relatives.


Reach the reporter at alexandria@localdailymedia.com or @alexsands_

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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