Child Psychologist Receives 40 Years in Prison for Disturbing Crime

Child Psychologist Receives 40 Years in Prison for Disturbing Crime

( – When children are small, many parents have conversations with them about whom they can trust: safe adults who will help them if they need it. The police, firefighters, doctors, and teachers are generally on that list. A doctor in North Carolina violated that faith, in the worst way possible.

A Violation of Trust

In June 2022, federal authorities indicted Dr. David Tatum on a charge of possessing and accessing obscene material containing children with the intention to view it. The Charlotte, North Carolina, doctor specialized in child psychiatry.

A jury found Tatum guilty in May 2023 of one count of production of illegal images and videos of children, one count of possession of the material, and one count of transportation of the material. According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, he possessed inappropriate videos and images of children between July 2016 and 2021.

Authorities discovered the doctor secretly recorded a minor while they were getting undressed and taking a shower. An investigation found Tatum produced the video and that he had taken similar videos of others as well. One of the videos was of one of his patients, taken during an outpatient visit. The patient had turned 18 just five days prior.

Evidence showed one of the people Tatum recorded was his 15-year-old cousin. He also used artificial intelligence (AI) to create similar images of children by modifying photos of his ex-girlfriend with inappropriate pictures of kids that he found on the internet. He’d viewed more than 1,000 illegal files of children with titles that indicated they involved pre-teen kids.

Doctor Sentenced

On November 8, the US Attorney’s Office announced a judge sentenced Tatum to 40 years in prison. The 41-year-old also received 30 years of supervised release to be served after he gets out. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

US Attorney Dena King issued a statement saying the child psychiatrist “knew the damaging, long-lasting impact sexual exploitation” has on kids who are victimized. It didn’t matter, Tatum still secretly recorded them and created “illicit images and videos of them.” Then, as if that weren’t enough depravity, he misused AI technology to further victimize kids by creating illegal images of them.

King went on to say the US Attorney’s Office is committed to going after child predators who are using AI technology to harm kids.

Tatum must also pay $99,000 under the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act (AVAA).

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