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Ex-deputy Eddie Nichols arrested on new sex charge

By by Robin Y. Richardson ryrichardson@news-journal.com
Dec. 19, 2011 at 11 p.m.


A former sheriff's deputy, who was arrested in September for two counts of sexual indecency with a child by contact, has been arrested on a sex charge that involves another alleged victim.

"Eddie Nichols was re-arrested on a third charge," explained Jay Webb, spokesperson for the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, noting the charge came out of the grand jury.

Nichols, 49, was arrested Friday by Texas Ranger Jason Dudley, who obtained a warrant while working in conjunction with the Harrison County District Attorney's Office.

"Mr. Nichols was booked into the Harrison County Jail on the third charge of sexual indecency with a child by contact at 5:30 p.m. and posted bond in the amount of $100,000," said Webb.

Nichols is accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl from January 2002 to March 2003 by touching her breasts and genitals.

Authorities learned of the accusations from a school counselor, who came forth with the information after Nichols and his wife were arrested in September on the other two cases.

According to the probable cause for arrest report, the counselor told investigators that in 2002, a 15-year-old girl whom she was counseling told her that Nichols made her feel "uncomfortable," but didn't specify how.

The counselor decided to tell authorities after learning of Nichols prior arrest. Officials followed up on the report by interviewing the alleged victim, who is now an adult.

During the interview, the victim told officials that Nichols touched her "inappropriately" while she was 15.

The victim said she met Nichols in 2002 after running away to a vacant house after a counseling session. She said he was one of the responding officers and "earned her trust," taking her home later that evening to her grandmother. She said one week later, Nichols contacted her grandmother asking if he could be the girl's male role model. The grandmother agreed and Nichols began taking her to church and to his house on several occasions where the two would swim alone.

The victim told officials when the two of them finished swimming, Nichols would make her take a bath "to wash the chlorine off her skin." She said the baths took place on three different occasions in 2002.

"During those encounters Nichols would bathe her from head to toe while she was totally nude in the bath tub," the report states.

The report goes on to say that he allegedly washed her breasts and genitals "with his bare hands." The alleged victim further advised that on multiple occasions at his home, Nichols taught her to check her breasts "to make sure they were developing correctly."

He allegedly instructed her to remove her shirt and bra and would touch her breasts.

She said he would make her check her breasts in his presence to verify that she was checking them correctly. She said he would verbally instruct her that she wasn't checking them properly and proceed to touch them himself.

The alleged victims in Nichols' prior arrest are two girls, ages 14 and 11, who also told a school counselor and authorities that he touched them inappropriately, specifically their breasts.

Nichols, who also is an ordained minister, was immediately terminated from the sheriff's office following the investigation of the first case. His wife, 33-year-old Sharon Nichols, was fired from her position as deputy county clerk a few days later.

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