East Spencer mayor says board knew about new administrator’s sexual battery charge before hiring

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 19, 2021

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — Recently hired Town Administrator Michael Douglas faces a sexual battery charge in Johnston County, but Mayor Barbara Mallett says the town knew about the charge when it hired him.

Douglas, 50, was arrested in Johnston County in June 2020 after being charged with sexual battery from an incident that occurred in August 2019, according to a report from WRAL. A grand jury indicted Douglas for his arrest, and he was later released on an unsecured bond. Sexual battery is a misdemeanor offense.

Douglas’ arrest was made while he worked as the town manager in Kenly, a town along Interstate 95 in eastern North Carolina. The town council there voted not to renew his contract after it was set to expire a month later in July 2020.

Douglas began working as town administrator for East Spencer in June.

Mallett told the Post the town is familiar with the pending charge and hired him “fully aware of it.”

“We did a complete background check and interviewed his references,” Mallett said. “We hired him because of his expertise and because we thought he would be a good fit for the town.”

There’s been no discussion among East Spencer board members about action to be taken if Douglas is convicted of the charge, she added.

Douglas said Friday he told East Spencer board members about the charge during the interview process. He’s not yet been to trial for the case, but Douglas said his next court date is scheduled in January. Douglas is being represented by Brad Polk, a criminal defense attorney from Raleigh.

Douglas is a California native and has degrees from Grambling State University in Louisiana as well as the American Military University. He began his Army career in 1995 and retired in 2013 while stationed at Fort Bragg. Douglas then taught for two years in Cumberland County before serving as town administrator in the town of Green Level and town manager in Kenly.