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In this era of immediate news and information, it seems impossible that physicians with dangerous criminal records are permitted to practice medicine. This is precisely what happened in Tennessee. In spite of admitting to a “misdemeanor” on his application to practice, nothing further was done to thwart Dr. David Livingston from being licensed in 1992 in Tennessee, despite the fact that other states blocked his practice.
Not until a wary mother of an eight-year-old just “really didn’t get a good vibe from him,” and searched on the Tennessee sex offender database did she discover that Dr. Livingston was a violent sex offender. In 1987 Livingston was convicted of first-degree rape, sodomy and sexual abuse charges after a six year relationship with his 15 year old step-daughter. This indictment occurred while Livingston was a medical resident in OB/GYN in New York. However, Livingston pleaded to a lesser charge, sexual misconduct, which is a misdemeanor.
Livingston was denied licenses in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He applied in Tennessee is 1992, long before the state enacted new regulations in 2005. Although Tennessee allowed him to have a license to practice knowing of his misdemeanor, state law doesn’t preclude a sex offender from practicing medicine. Felony information stays on medical files permanently, but misdemeanor information is deleted after ten years.
The state is presently moving to suspend Livingston’s license. Tennessee Senator Diane Black is proposing a bill with the legislature to have the Tennessee Bureau of Information and the state sex offender registry share information. Just the very nature of the crime, regardless of it having been reduced to the level of a misdemeanor, begs the question: how safe is it to have the man involved with care for children and/or women in general? The nature of a crime should be carefully considered when making a hiring decision-not simply the label of felony or misdemeanor. It has been our experience, at Corporate Investigations, Inc., that many hiring professionals consider misdemeanors to be mere minor indiscretions not serious in nature. As evidenced by this very example, it is in everyone’s best interest to weigh all aspects of the criminal record against the responsibilities the individual will fulfill when conducting background screenings.
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