Special Report: Dr. Sex Offender

By Janice Broach - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South mother was shocked to discover her eight-year-old daughter's doctor was a sex offender.

It was while she lived in Nashville that the mother, who asked not to be named, discovered her daughter's doctor had at one time been charged with the rape of a child, and that he is a registered sex offender.

"If he's on a sex offender list for violating children, how he could be practicing medicine, seeing children?" she asked in a recent interview.

"He" is Dr. David Livingston, a family practice physician.  Police records show that in 1987, while a medical resident in OB/GYN in New York, Livingston faced felony charges of first-degree rape, sodomy and sexual abuse after an alleged six-year sexual relationship with a young girl.  Livingston pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual misconduct, and later moved to Tennessee.  

In 1992, Livingston obtained a Tennessee medical license - before the state required background checks on doctors.  But Livingston's application file shows the state knew Livingston was a sex offender in 1992 and gave him a license anyway.  Livingston's application file included detailed police reports of the sexual abuse, and his own statements that he'd been denied licenses in both Connecticut and Massachusetts.  In fact, the state renewed his license, even after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation listed him as a violent sex offender!

That's because, according to officials at the Tennessee Department of Health, there is no law in Tennessee that necessarily prohibits any person convicted of any crime from getting a medical license.

Senator Diane Black, a key proponent of strengthening sex offender laws in Tennessee, says change could be on the way.

"It seems like we should be acting on this immediately to keep him from being close to children - those who are most vulnerable," Black said. "I'm very concerned we have not acted and reacted appropriately on this."

There are no accusations that Livingston acted inappropriately with any patients in Tennessee. In fact, his file includes letters from other Tennessee doctors stating he interacted with female patients in a "very appropriate and professional manner," and that, "he has had no recurrence of the problems which plagued him years ago in another lifetime."

But documents filed by the medical board itself say that when Livingston moved to Tennessee, he failed to register as a sex offender until law enforcement contacted him.  And just last year, police arrested Livingston after he set up private practice well within the 1,000-feet limit of a day care.

Now the Board of Medical Examiners is moving to suspend, revoke or discipline his medical license.  The Board of Medical Examiners would not discuss the specifics of Livingston's case, but they are scheduled to meet March 16 in Nashville, and they could hear the matter then.

We found at least five other Tennessee doctors on the sex offender registry, but those doctors already have had their licenses revoked.

Consumer Information

Consumers can go to the Department of Health's license verification system online, which provides information and details of past disciplinary action of licensed medical professionals in Tennessee. The Web site is http://health.state.tn.us/licensure/index.htm.

Once on this Web page, enter the name of the person and profession. When the license information comes up, click on "disciplinary action" or "adverse licensure action" in the far right column. Then click on "view board order." If a board order is not available, you can contact the department at TN.Health@tn.gov to receive a copy.

  • To file a complaint, click here: http://health.state.tn.us/Boards/complaints.htm

Consumers can also access information at the following Web sites:

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.