Rape charges reduced for former Tenn. EMS director charged with assaulting employees

William Angel must stay out of trouble for a probationary period to have his record cleared after being granted a judicial diversion


Ben Benton
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

PIKEVILLE, Tenn. — A former Bledsoe County emergency medical service director was granted a judicial diversion Monday related to allegations leveled in 2020 that he assaulted female employees of the service he directed, court records show.

William Allen Angel, 30, must stay out of trouble for a two-year probationary period to have his record cleared after entering what's known as "best interest plea" on two counts of reckless aggravated assault, according to Bledsoe County Circuit Court records.

Bledsoe County (Tenn.) EMS director William Allen Angel was granted a judicial diversion related to allegations that he assaulted female employees.
Bledsoe County (Tenn.) EMS director William Allen Angel was granted a judicial diversion related to allegations that he assaulted female employees. (Photo/Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Such a plea is entered when a defendant determines it's in his or her own best interest to enter a plea without admitting guilt.

The indicted charge in each count at issue in Angel's hearing Monday was rape, a class B felony that carries a potential sentence of eight to 12 years. That charge was reduced in the diversion agreement to reckless aggravated assault, a class D felony that carries a sentence of two to four years.

As part of the agreement, all other counts against Angel were dismissed by Circuit Court Judge J. Curtis Smith, who granted the judicial diversion and approved the terms.

Smith additionally ordered Angel to have no contact with victims in the case and to pay court costs.

Angel's lawyer, Dunlap attorney Thomas Austin, was in court Tuesday and couldn't be reached for comment.

Angel was arrested in 2020 following a joint investigation conducted by the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, according to authorities.

He was originally charged with five counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and 11 counts of sexual battery, according to a statement in August 2020 from TBI spokesperson Susan Niland.

At the time of Angel's arrest, Niland said the investigation stemmed from "allegations of sexual misconduct against female employees of the Bledsoe County Emergency Medical Service."

The incidents took place between April 2017 and September 2019, the TBI said. The Bledsoe County grand jury issued indictments July 27, 2020, and Angel was arrested three days later.

Mike Taylor, the district attorney for the six-county 12th Judicial District, said in a phone interview that Monday's court action is called an "Alford" or a "best interest" plea in which the defendant admits no guilt but in his own best interest enters a plea to a charge, in Angel's case en route to a diversion agreement.

"He actually enters a plea, they just don't put the judgment down" unless terms of the diversion order are violated, Taylor said.

If terms of the diversion are violated, "we can file a motion to revoke the diversion and put the sentence into effect," Taylor said of the state's position. The sentence, in Angel's case, would be ordered for reckless aggravated assault, he said.

Both the counts involved in Monday's court action were ordered to be concurrent, meaning if sentences are ever handed down on the two counts they will be served at the same time, records show.

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(c)2021 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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