A nurse who was fired for authorizing the use of pepper spray on a naked patient at Riverview Psychiatric Center and also is charged with harming his infant son has agreed to place his nursing license on inactive status.

The consent agreement changing the status of the license of registered nurse William Goodhue Lord Jr., 40, of Readfield, became effective in late August, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by the Kennebec Journal through a public records request. He was first licensed as a registered nurse in Maine in August 2010.

According to the consent agreement, the state Board of Nursing initiated its own complaint in April 2014 against Lord after receiving “an investigative report from the Department of Health and Human Services substantiating an allegation of patient abuse as well as inappropriate utilization of restraints while licensee was employed at Riverview Psychiatric Center.”

Lord responded to the complaint in June, saying “he followed Riverview procedure and protocol to the best of his ability,” the agreement states, and the matter was set for an informal conference.

Before that, the board learned from a Kennebec Journal story that Lord had been arrested in October 2014 on a charge of assault and endangering the welfare of a child, and the board filed a second complaint against Lord, according to the agreement.

Lord at that point “deferred to his legal counsel,” and it appeared to lead to the consent agreement that resulted in his license becoming inactive. The signatures on the agreement are those of Lord; Kim Esquibel, executive director of the Maine Board of Nursing; and Assistant Attorney General Ronald Guay.

Lord is scheduled for a jury trial on charges of aggravated assault, domestic violence assault, domestic violence terrorizing and marijuana cultivation, all stemming from the incident on Oct. 19, 2014. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and jury selection in the case is set for Oct. 9 at the Capital Judicial Center with the trial itself set to run Oct. 26 to 28. Lord’s defense attorney is Kevin Sullivan.

Lord is accused of tossing his 3-month-old son down a flight of stairs at his Wayne home during the early morning hours. Police say the child was in an infant seat but not strapped in and landed face down, suffering a skull fracture. Ericka Melanson, the baby’s mother, told police the boy was not breathing initially but began to do so when she picked him up.

Melanson also told authorities that Lord was intoxicated at the time and had been drinking heavily because he was depressed about losing his job.

She took the child to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta for treatment, and police obtained a warrant to arrest Lord, who was still at the house.

The child, Preston Lord, is named as the victim in all the charges except the count of terrorizing, which alleges that Lord threatened to kill Melanson, now 22.

Lord was freed on $5,000 bail on Nov. 29, 2014, but was arrested again April 12, 2015, after police conducted a bail check on him and reported finding that he had just returned from staying for a month in Connecticut with relatives and had in his vehicle a 12-pack of Samuel Adams beer, including one open beer. Conditions of probation required him to notify the court of a change of address and prohibited him from possession of alcohol.

Sullivan again sought bail for him, saying Lord had been in counseling for the substance abuse but had relapsed. However, a judge ordered him held without bail.

The consent agreement places Lord’s nursing license on inactive status until no later than Feb. 18, 2018, and says Lord “agrees and understands that he will not work or volunteer in any capacity for a health care provider or in any position holding himself out as a registered professional nurse.”

A state investigation into the pepper spray incident concluded that a state corrections officer coated Arlene Edson — who identified herself as the patient involved — with that substance on Dec. 2, 2013, while she was alone in her room and not threatening anyone.

The hospital’s policy defines abuse as “the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment that causes, or is likely to cause, physical harm or pain or mental anguish.”

The investigators viewed video of the pepper-spray incident from cameras inside the hospital and from those carried by the corrections officers. The hospital reported the incident to state regulators on Feb. 27, 2014, about three months after it had occurred. Lord was the only staff member fired in connection with that incident.

The use of corrections officers prompted federal regulators to review the hospital and remove its certification, which cut off eligibility for federal funds that amount to about $20 million a year.

The hospital later replaced state corrections officers with acuity specialists, whose job is to assist with behavior and safety issues.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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