NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Nicolas Motley has gone from being an accuser to becoming the accused.
Now 22, Motley was a boy when he accused William Arnold, his then mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, of repeatedly raping him.
Arnold was convicted and ordered to spend 25 years in prison.
But seven years into that sentence, Arnold has his convictions officially dropped on June 29, 2020, when the district attorney’s office told a judge that they no longer had confidence in Arnold’s conviction.
“There were times in a cold jail cell literally on a dirty floor I couldn’t do anything but give it to God,” Arnold told reporters after his conviction was dropped.
That district attorney’s move came after an appellate court ruling dismissed Arnold’s conviction, raising questions that the prosecutor in his case made exceedingly improper comments, that his defense in certain circumstances was ineffective, and that evidence disclosed in discovery raised questions about Motley’s credibility.
After never speaking publicly about the case, Motley agreed to answer questions from News4 Investigates.
“If anyone were to stay to you, why did you make this up? Why did you do this to this man? What would you say?” asked News4 Investigates.
“I would simply say I did not make this up,” Motley said.
Motley said after the appellate court decision and the district attorney’s move to dismiss the conviction, he was destroyed.
“My whole world just shattered. I instantly went back to the first time that it happened,” Motley said.
News4 Investigates reviewed the entire criminal file on the now closed case.
In it, Motley, repeatedly recounted specific details to detectives of being raped by Arnold, including details of Arnold’s house where he said the crimes occurred.
News4 Investigates also reviewed the first time Motley spoke with detectives at age 12, identifying Arnold as the man who had raped him.
But in the court filing to the appellate court, Arnold’s attorney claimed that around the same time of Motley’s accusations, the boy was also having sexual relations with a 17-year old, whose first name was also William.
That 17-year-old was also a relative of Motley’s mother’s then boyfriend.
While Tennessee criminal law states that a minor cannot willingly be in a sexual relationship, Arnolds attorney argued that Motley and the teen had a relationship that Motley consented to.
Arnold’s attorney’s raised questions that Motley may have feared his mother’s disapproval of the sexual activities with the 17-year-old, and blamed the other William – William Arnold – for raping him.
Motley’s mother, Shannel Bowen, admits that she at first had trouble accepting that her son was gay, but came to realize that his sexuality did not matter to her.
“I’ll be honest – no, I wouldn’t have wanted a gay child. But I love him regardless. Love is love,” Bowen said.
Bowen said her son’s story has never changed in the last decade, starting with the very first time he told her that Motley had raped him.
“I went and got a bible – and my sister’s obit – and I said – you look at my sister and you put your hand on a bible, and you tell me: William Arnold did this to you? And (Motley) did. And (Motley) never swayed from that,” Bowen said.
The sexual relations with the 17-year-old was mentioned during the trial, and Motley said he knew there were questions about which William had actually raped him.
Court records show the 17-year-old was also investigated but was never charged.
“The argument is: you simply misidentified him to protect yourself. To hide the truth. So what do you say that both these people have the same name?” asked News4 Investigates.
“It’s just a weird coincidence honestly,” Motley said.
Motley said there’s more that people don’t know: at the time of the sexual activities with the 17-year-old, he did not know the teen’s real name, only his nickname.
“Did you call (the 17-year-old) by a different name?” asked News4 Investigates.
“Yes,” Motley said. “It was the only name I knew him by.”
“Did you ever refer to the 17 year old as William?” asked News4 Investigates.
“No,” Motley said.
Motley continues to say the only William he knew was William Arnold.
Motley said it’s why he continues to sue Arnold and Big Brothers Big Sister in civil court, but realizes that also raises questions if his motivations are purely financial.
Motley said the reason he keeps accusing Arnold, is because the child still inside him needs justice.
“I don’t think the pain, and the nightmares, and the flashbacks – I don’t think they’ll ever go away,” Motley said.
News4 Investigates repeatedly asked Arnold for an interview to respond to Motley’s interview, but his attorney, Patrick McNally, declined due to the civil lawsuit.
But in a statement to News4 Investigates, McNally said Motley’s motivations are purely financial.
“Dr. William Arnold was wrongfully convicted. His convictions were vacated on appeal and remanded back to the trial court. The Davidson County District Attorney Conviction Review Unit conducted a careful and deliberate review of all the facts before the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges in open court. The prosecutor reviewed the false trial testimony by Dr. Arnold’s accuser and the confession by another person named “William” admitting a sexual relationship with the accuser at the time of the accusations against Dr. Arnold. Dr. Barbara Ziv’s testified during Dr. Arnold’s post-conviction hearing that her forensic evaluation of the accuser indicated he was making false accusations against Dr. Arnold and that Dr. Arnold did not fit the profile of a child sex abuser. Dr. Arnold understands that the accuser and his mother continue to accuse him because they are pursuing a $3,000,000 lawsuit against him and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee,” McNally wrote.
A spokesperson for Big Brothers Big Sisters also declined to comment because of the civil lawsuit.