mbbored, thank you, no problem.
snappylt, I have thought of that, and I think it's always possible that things are not what they seem. Granted, I can't figure out another explanation, but that means nothing. I trust the person who told me - Mary - pretty much unequivocally. She consistently acts with integrity and is an honest person (she really is like Mary Ingalls). If there was any doubt, it would be on me and my perception, which is why I asked Nellie to repeat the story to me twice because I couldn't believe my ears - that's how I'm about 95% sure of my interpretation. Possibly, I am wrong, and you are absolutely correct that's exactly the tack Nellie would take in defending herself.
I didn't mention something that happened after the story but before I found out. Nellie called me and said she'd been thinking about the situation - and without letting her continue, I just started ranting and raving (a little hyperbolic) about how appalled I was at Charles and I just couldn't understand and on and on and on and I realized later, she kind of changed the subject when I was done. I wonder now if she was considering telling me the truth and changed her mind, again because of my angry reaction.
I find this a little sad and a little amusing now. She must how thought, "Wow, I have unleashed the proverbial lion."
Danika, I think she slandered Charles, but because of the sentence before this one, I doubt she'd spread it around beyond me - not after I kind of flipped out about it.
And the last piece of information about it all is that she hasn't enjoyed a great reputation among our peers while I've known her. I used to be the person who defended her because I thought she was troubled but improving, and I at least never doubted her truthfulness. I take people at face value, sometimes at my own peril. But once this happened, I realized that many of her detractors were right, and there were some bigger issues afoot than I realized. Sad.