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Documents: Nurses exchanged emails, texts in unlawful release of child sex abuse information; attorney turned over evidence

Becky Campbell • Jan 12, 2018 at 11:54 PM

Both women arrested Thursday on charges of disclosing confidential information in a child sex abuse case were associated with a local hospital system, and one was involved in the investigation of the other woman’s son.

Tessa Proffitt, 41, of Jonesborough, and Alicia May, 53, of Johnson City, were each indicted on six counts of unlawful disclosure of confidential sex abuse information, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of criminal conspiracy to tamper with evidence. They were taken into custody and later released from the Washington County Detention Center on a $5,000 bond each.

Both were suspended from Mountain States Health Alliance after their arrests, and Proffitt resigned from her job as a registered nurse at the Mountain Home VA Medical Center Friday as the hospital was taking steps to propose an employee’s termination after the employee was indicted on six counts of unlawful disclosure of confidential sex abuse information, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of criminal conspiracy to tamper with evidence.

The facility would not confirm that employee was Proffitt, but according to her LinkedIn account, she worked as a bedside nurse on a medical/surgical floor at the VA.

“This behavior is not in line with the norms and values of the VA, and as a result the employee has been suspended from all duties,” VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said in a press release. He later updated the release to indicate the employee had resigned and to emphasize the allegations occurred while the employee worked at a different, non-VA organization.

“Secretary (David) Shulkin has made clear that the VA will hold employees accountable when they fail to live up the high standards taxpayers expect from us. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in this case,” Cashour said.

Proffitt, worked as a certified sexual assault nurse examiner on an on-call, as-needed basis for Mountain States Health Alliance. She has been involved in numerous sexual assault and severe abuse cases in Washington County, and has several cases pending now, including a first-degree murder case in Carter County.

The case that led to the charges against Proffitt and May stems from a separate investigation in Elizabethton involving May’s son, according to the presentment returned by a grand jury earlier this month.

In that case, William “Billy” David Blevins, 32, was indicted by a Carter County grand jury in March 2017 on one charge of rape of a child. The child was the daughter of a friend of Blevins’, according to court documents. The investigation began in January 2017 after an allegation of the rape was made to Elizabethton police.

According to the presentment against Proffitt and May, the women exchanged information about the child abuse allegations against Blevins through text messages, e-mail, Facebook messages and phone conversations “that concerned the unlawful disclosure of confidential child sexual abuse records as well as the willingness of Tessa Proffit to unlawfully assist in the defense of Alicia May’s son’s criminal case.”

One count in the presentment indicated the women did alter, destroy or conceal a sexual device that was evidence in the case.

According to the presentment, all of the information apparently came to light after Blevins’ original defense attorney in his case discovered a packet of information dropped off at his office by May that contained “confidential and privileged information that was given to her by Tessa Proffitt, that arose from the child sexual abuse investigation.” The presentment also stated that Proffitt and May agreed the communications between them had to be destroyed or concealed.

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