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.
Proffitt worked as a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner — a registered nurse who specializes in sexual assault examinations — when she allegedly shared information with another nurse whose son was under investigation.
Proffitt and May came under scrutiny last year during an Elizabethton Police Department child sex abuse case. The child, who was reportedly raped, was medically examined by Proffitt. When Elizabethton investigators suspected confidential information had been shared, they went to then-First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark. Because Proffitt was involved in numerous cases in the First District, Clark recused his office from the matter.
Second Judicial District Attorney General Barry Staubus’ office was appointed to the case and two of his assistants — Gene Perrin and William Harper — took over. Staubus asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to step in and investigate the case.
“We have have the case resolved,” Perrin told Rice. “Both agreed to plea.”
Perrin did not explain further what May and Proffitt agreed to in the plea, and there is no agreed sentence in the case.
“It will be a plea and sentencing hearing,” said May’s attorney, Jonathan Minga. Proffitt’s attorneys, Wayne Culbertson and Joseph McMurray, were also in court and in agreement to resetting the case.
According to the presentment against the women, they exchanged information about the child abuse allegations against Mays’ son 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 May’s son’s defense attorney 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.
Both women were suspended from their work with Mountain States and Proffitt resigned from her job at the VA Medical Center.
Both women are free on $5,000 bond each. Their plea hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.