Nurse once charged with sexual battery won’t get arrest record cleared

PERRY -- A nurse accused of groping a patient will never get a chance to go before a jury. Now, a judge has ruled that William Anthony Dickerson won’t get his arrest record cleared either.

Dickerson was charged with sexual battery in 2012. Just before the case was to go to trial, however, his alleged victim died unexpectedly. Prosecutors never got a chance to try to prove Dickerson guilty, and Dickerson never got to contest the charge and show his innocence.

Dickerson asked the Warner Robins Police Department to clear the arrest from his record and, when that was refused, he filed a lawsuit earlier this year to try to get a judge to clear the record.

On Wednesday, Houston County Chief Superior Court Judge George F. Nunn Jr. ruled against Dickerson’s efforts to clear the arrest record.

“Because the primary witness in the aforementioned criminal case passed away prior to trial on the merits, the prosecuting attorney was barred from introducing material witness testimony against Mr. Dickerson on legal rather than factual grounds, and the criminal history record shall not be restricted,” Nunn wrote.

Arthur Creque, who’d worked as a prosecutor in the case, said during a May court hearing that he couldn’t go to trial with only the alleged victim’s statements, because she wasn’t available for questioning.

“Death is the ultimate unavailability,” Creque said. He argued that the arrest should remain on the record.

“The state’s interest or the public’s interest in knowing the circumstances and facts of his arrest is quite high, especially considering the nature of his employment,” when Dickerson can be left with people alone, Creque said.

Creque said the alleged 32-year-old victim, who had a low IQ, was at Houston Medical Center when Dickerson touched her breast and thigh. Creque said she was not a patient of Dickerson, who had worked with her mother, and did not work in the Houston Medical Center.

Creque said Dickerson went to perform what he called an assessment of a port where she took in medication. Creque said that assessment ended abruptly when the woman’s mother walked into the hospital room, and Dickerson left. The woman and her mother reported the episode to Houston Medical Center and to Dickerson’s employer in Cordele, which discharged him, Creque said.

Dickerson’s attorney, Ben Wright of Cordele, said at the time that his client had taken a pay cut and, because of the arrest record, couldn’t find a job away from Cordele.

“We simply cannot allow a mere allegation to constantly, just constantly diminish his quality of life, his earning capacity and his reputation in this small community,” Wright argued.

Wright did not return a phone call this week seeking comment.