SPECIAL REPORT: Women make accusations against former guardian ad litem

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Several women in the CSRA have made some serious accusations against a man assigned by the court system to work on their child custody cases.

"We've always done things together. Inseparable."

That's how this mother - a military veteran currently serving in the United States Army - describes her relationship with her children before a court order took them away from her.

Court documents show her case in 2011 was assigned a guardian ad litem - a person appointed by the judge in a custody dispute - to make recommendations. That person was Doug Nelson, who presently serves as a Columbia County magistrate judge.

The mom said Nelson met her at an Augusta motel for a meeting when she said the situation took a bad turn.

"We're walking outside the parking lot," explained the mom. "And he puts his arm around me. And he's rubbing my arm up and down. And then he puts his hand on my back. Starts rubbing my back. All the way down to my bottom. As in, my rear. And I'm like. This is no way for a guardian ad litem to be carrying himself with nobody."

She made a report this year to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. Investigators said they're still looking into the allegations.

She said he eventually ended contact with her and wrote his report, which she believes ultimately led to her custody of her children being revoked.

"This judge has basically made it a point to make my life miserable, saying, 'I wasn't going to get the children back,' saying I manipulated their minds. But nobody has even talked to the children."

According to Nelson's final report in her case to Judge Daniel Craig, he didn't list the kids as interviewees when making his report, but said this mother alienated the kids from their father.

According to the document, he did, however, interview six people with listed relationships to the father - but none for the mom.

Nelson also gave a two paragraph status update for the father, describing what he believed to be the father's "touching" hobby of writing books on social issues.

The mom got two cut-and-dry sentences stating her name, location of residence and Army pay grade.

The report states Nelson ultimately recommended custody for the father because of the mother's "willful and intentional alienation" of the children.

After hearing the allegations, we tried to reach out to Nelson. A court secretary gave us his cell phone number to reach him on.

Nelson said seven words: "Didn't happen. All I have to say."

One of the witnesses Nelson interviewed in this case who doesn't have a custody case, is also now making allegations of her own. She said he arranged a follow-up meeting where she says he asked about her personal life.

"His specific comment was, 'Well, now that he's gone, you're definitely going to be needing a man in your life, and I know how to take care of that.'"

In another case, another mom said Nelson sent her inappropriate text messages while working on her custody case two years ago, and also asked her what she calls inappropriate questions in person.

"He came right out and asked, 'What was your sex life like?'" she said. "And I was thinking, 'Okay, we have a problem.'"

She included screenshots of the messages in a brief we obtained that was filed with the court clerk's office to Judge Daniel Craig. When we reached out to Craig, he said it would be "improper for a judge to discuss the accuracy of a brief" like the one filed and that this case is pending trial.

Sent from a phone number we confirmed through magistrate court offices belonging to Nelson, the messages we read say he "wanted to touch" and also discussed the mom's attire. When she told him what she would be wearing to a hearing, Nelson responded, "giddy up - can't wait to see."

And there's another case.

In a statement to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office this year, another woman alleges in 2012 that Nelson pulled her body right up to his and stroked her arm and back.

"I couldn't believe it. I'm not easily offended. I've worked around a lot of men, single-handedly, being in the military, working around sexual harassment. I knew clearly what it was."

That case is also still under investigation, police said.

After hearing the additional allegations, we reached out to Nelson again.

He sent me a statement via text message, re-iterating these are allegations only and that he worked cases where he says people lash out because of kids being involved. Nelson said these women are looking for a reason to get back in court.

But when asked pointed questions about the proof the women say they have - including screenshots of text messages - he said he handled 50 to 75 cases at a time and has no idea about those text messages - because that was the normal mode of communication at the time. He also says he never put anyone in an uncomfortable situation.

Nelson agreed to meet face-to-face, but on the day of our scheduled meeting, he said he had reviewed some guidelines for guardians ad litem and felt he could no longer discuss the allegations.

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