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Judge asked to allow testimony of past child sex complaints against Rogersville pediatrician

Jeff Bobo • Aug 1, 2018 at 8:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Court documents released Tuesday outlined in detail the 2017 child sexual battery charges against Rogersville pediatrician Dr. Chris Calendine, as well as three uncharged past allegations, one of which dates back to the 1990s.

On Tuesday in Rogersville Circuit Court, Judge Alex Pearson heard testimony from three men who said Calendine either touched them or attempted to touch them in a sexual manner when they were minors. 

Pearson has yet to rule on a prosecution motion to allow testimony from those three witnesses to be heard by the jury during Calendine’s trial, which begins Sept. 24.

One of those witnesses was previously convicted of perjury and statutory rape, and another is currently serving jail time in Virginia.

In August of last year, Calendine was indicted on one count of aggravated sexual battery and one count of sexual battery by an authority figure for allegedly touching two boys ages 12 and 14 during a sleepover at his Rogersville home. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years on one count and up to six years on the other.

Calendine adamantly denies all allegations, and he has maintained “business as usual” at his medical practice since being indicted.

Allegations of “a common scheme or plan”

After he was indicted, however, three witnesses came forward and described similar alleged encounters with Calendine dating back to the 1990s.

Assistant Attorney General Ryan Blackwell argued Tuesday that those allegations should be introduced to the jury during Calendine’s trial as “evidence to prove a common scheme or plan.”

Blackwell argued that in each of the alleged incidents, Calendine had become a “father figure” or “male role model” in the lives of the alleged victims, all of whom were living in single-mother homes.

Although Pearson hasn’t ruled on that first motion, he did rule in favor of a second prosecution motion Tuesday allowing two past incidents of alleged dishonesty on the part of Calendine to be entered into evidence if the doctor decides to testify in his trial.

Calendine charged with sexual battery

On the morning of July 24, 2017, a woman reported to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office that her 12-year-old son and his 14-year-old friend had been sexually touched by Calendine during a sleepover at his home.

During an interview at the Child Advocacy Center in Greeneville, the 12-year-old stated that on July 22, he was among a group of young males who spent the evening at Calendine’s residence.

In the early morning hours of July 23, the two alleged victims and another 14-year-old boy went to Calendine’s basement to sleep.

The 12-year-old stated that during the night Calendine attempted to touch, and ultimately did touch, his genitals.

The 12-year-old stated that he later saw one of the 14-year-old boys being touched by Calendine.

That 14-year-old was later interviewed by authorities and stated that Calendine touched him while he was sleeping in the basement and that he also observed Calendine touch the 12-year-old boy.

The alleged pattern of abuse

Both 2017 alleged victims reportedly come from single-mother homes.

Blackwell argued that through a combination of his status as a local physician and the attention he showed both boys, Calendine was held in high regard by both as a male role model and father figure.

It was a similar status Calendine allegedly held in the lives of three previous accusers.

Testimony about previous alleged acts not yet approved by judge

Accuser 1 states that he was around 11 when Calendine was a youth intern/worker at a church summer camp in Oak Ridge when they became acquainted in the 1990s.

Over time Calendine developed a relationship with Accuser 1 and his mother and became a trusted male role model in his life.

Accuser 1 would testify during the trial that he, Calendine, and two other adult males were spending the night at an Oak Ridge residence where he and Calendine shared a room. Accuser 1 states that he was awakened by Calendine attempting to touch his private parts and was later awakened again by Calendine masturbating his private parts.

Accuser 1 also has previous convictions for perjury and statutory rape, which defense attorneys Wade Davies and Heather Good would likely use to damage his credibility.

Accuser 2 claims he was 13 in the early 2000s when Calendine, who was his physician, forged a relationship with him and his mother and became a father figure in his life.

He claims that on his 14th birthday, Calendine took him to eat at Hooters in Johnson City, and then took the boy to his office at the Rural Health Consortium in Rogersville.

Accuser 2 would testify that while at his office Calendine provided the boy with pornographic material and performed a sex act on him.

Accuser 3 states that he had a relationship with Calendine for about 10 years, and he and his brother lived with Calendine for a time.

According to Accuser 3, on a night in 2008, he and his brother were staying at Calendine’s residence. Accuser 3 was on the couch and Calendine on a beanbag beside the couch. Accuser 3 claims Calendine pulled down the blanket in the area of his groin in an attempt to touch him sexually, which scared him, so he ran to sleep with his brother in a bedroom.

Accuser 3 is currently serving jail time in Virginia for misdemeanor convictions, which Davies and Good would likely use to damage his credibility as well.

The defense response to allegations

In her written response, Good asserts that the testimony of Accusers 1, 2, and 3 should not be admitted because trial courts should err on the side of excluding evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts.

Good notes that proof of the previous other crime or act must be proven by clear and convincing evidence and that Pearson must balance the probative value versus the danger of unfairly prejudicing the jury.

“The state has offered no legally valid explanation as to how the proposed evidence is relevant for any purpose other than to bolster the testimony of the complaining witnesses, and to improperly infer that Dr. Calendine has a propensity to commit sexual offenses — reasons strictly prohibited by (Tennessee Rules of Evidence) Rule 404(b),” Good states.

Good further states, “The proposed evidence would prevent Dr. Calendine from receiving a fair trial on the charged offenses, and should be excluded because any probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.”

“Dishonest acts” ruled admissible

Pearson ruled Tuesday that should Calendine choose to testify during his Sept. 24 trial, the following evidence is ruled admissible. 

1. In 2013, Calendine allegedly used Accuser 3’s likeness and Facebook URL information without his permission or knowledge to obtain pornographic images from someone online.

Calendine subsequently sent Accuser 3 an email from his personal account admitting to using Accuser 3’s Facebook URL to connect with a 19-year-old girl to collect pornographic material.

In that email, Calendine states that he sent a video of himself masturbating for this girl under the guise of being Accuser 3, and he repeatedly apologizes to Accuser 3.

2. Also ruled admissible, Calendine allegedly sent Accuser 3 an email in 2013 admitting to personally taking Adderrall, a Schedule II narcotic, which had been prescribed to Accuser 3’s brother.

The prosecution’s position is that these alleged acts of dishonesty on the part of Calendine should be taken into account by the jury if and when it hears Calendine’s testimony at trial.

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