Public Employee Arrested in Ardmore

2-22-05 - A Carter County Health Department counselor was arrested Tuesday on charges of sexual battery and blackmail.

Authorities began a 3-month investigation after a female victim came forward with her story. She claims 52-year-old James Michael Hicks, who teaches parenting classes at the health department, offered her a class certificate without taking the class. After she accepted it, she says he threatened to turn her in if she didn't do what he wanted. Over the course of the year, the woman says they never had sex but Hicks did touch her inappropriately.

The health department declined to comment today but they did say James Hicks has been on administrative leave since police began their investigation.