Rogersville pediatrician pleads guilty in child sex case, sentence to 8 years

Jeff Bobo • Sep 24, 2018 at 10:29 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A pediatrician who not too long ago was one of Rogersville’s most beloved citizens will spend the next six months behind bars and eight years on probation after accepting a plea agreement Monday in Hawkins County Criminal Court connected to allegations he sexually abused two juvenile males in 2017.

Dr. Christopher Lawrence “Chris” Calendine, 46, was schedule to stand trial Monday morning 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 in July 2017. 

On Monday, however, Calendine pleaded guilty to the reduced charge sexual battery, a Class E felony, and was sentenced to two years; as well as the original sexual battery by an authority, for which he received six years — with the sentences running consecutive for a total of eight years.

He must serve 180 days in jail day-for-day beginning Monday, and the rest of the sentence will be served on probation.

Calendine also loses his medical license, and he will be on the sex offender registry for life, which, among other things, prohibits him from being in contact with any juveniles who are not his own children.

Why was the plea deal offered?

Attorney General Dan Armstrong acknowledged that there will be people who believe six months imprisonment is not long enough for these crimes. 

“But they also don't know the strength and weaknesses of the case,” Armstrong said. “They also have to realize I'm looking out for the welfare of the victims as best I can. They (the victims and their families) agreed that this was a good resolution of this case.”

Armstrong added, “We decided to let this case plea for three reasons: to protect the public, to protect these particular victims and to make sure we protect any possible future victims by putting him on the sex offender registry. By giving up his medical license and by pleading to this case, we think we've done all three.”

The two victims are now 13 and 15 and would have been subjected to cross examination, where their credibility would have been called into question.

Armstrong added, "This came down to a credibility case, so you can imagine what that's like, going through that."

The original allegations

The original aggravated sexual battery indictment stated that on July 23, 2017, Calendine engaged in sexual contact with a 12-year-old male and that he acted intentionally and knowingly with regard to the victim's age.

The original sexual battery by an authority figure indictment stated that on July 23, 2017, Calendine engaged with sexual contact with a 14-year-old boy and acted intentionally and knowingly with regard to the victim's age.

The indictment further stated that at the time of the offense, Calendine had custodial authority over the 14-year-old victim and used that authority to accomplish sexual contact.

Armstrong added, “I appreciate the work of my assistant Ryan Blackwell and investigator Teddy Collinsworth. They worked hard on this case. We were prepared to go to trial, but I think it was a good outcome to save the victims the stress of a trial and also making sure that he did not practice medicine, especially when it comes to children, and that he go on the sexual abuse registry for life."

Recent identity theft charges

Last month, Calendine was indicted on 39 counts of identity theft, which he also pleaded guilty to Monday. He was sentenced to two years, which run concurrently with the other eight-year sentence.

Armstrong noted, however, that with the additional 39 felony convictions, if Calendine commits any other crimes in his life, he would be sentenced as a career criminal. 

The identity theft charges are the result of an investigation by the attorney general’s office into Calendine’s past in which three witnesses were uncovered who made allegations of sexual assault against Calendine dating back to the 1990s.

Armstrong was seeking to have those witnesses permitted to testify before the jury at Calendine's trial.

During the course of gathering information from those witnesses, it was revealed that in 2013 Calendine allegedly sent an email to one of those witnesses in which he admitted to prescribing Aderrall, a Schedule II narcotic, to another male but using the drug himself.

When investigators began looking into the Adderall claim, they compiled enough evidence to acquire indictments on 39 counts of identity theft.

Adderall isn’t mentioned in the indictments, however. Instead, Calendine is accused of acquiring Cytomel tablets, using another person’s identity without that person’s knowledge on 39 occasions between Dec. 15, 2004, and July 29, 2018.

Cytomel is a synthetic form of thyroid hormone used to to treat thyroid cancer patients, but it is also used to increase metabolism and in treating major depressive disorder when used in combination with antidepressants.

Protective custody

Calendine will serve his 180 days of incarceration in the Hawkins County Jail, during which time he will be in protective custody.

Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told the Times News that Calendine will be confined to his own cell for 23 hours per day, and he will be allowed to exercise outside by himself for one hour per day.

Lawson said Calendine’s protective custody is based on the nature of his crime and not his status in the community. Lawson said it is routine in the Hawkins County Jail for inmates accused of, or convicted of certain types of crimes such as sex crimes against children to be placed in protective custody.

Who is Dr. Chris Calendine

Calendine has been a pediatrician in Hawkins County for the past 17 years, including the past year while these charges were looming. He opened Promise Medical Group in Rogersville in February 2017.

He founded ProStrength and Speed, which was a physical fitness program for Hawkins County youths based in Rogersville.

Calendine volunteered as Cherokee High School’s football team physician until December 2016, when he was arrested for public intoxication at a Volunteer High School basketball game and was banned from all county school grounds for two years.

He also made headlines in 2016 when he started a reward fund for a kidnapped Hawkins County child by donating $10,000. That fund eventually grew to $40,000. 

Promise Medical Group COO Sheri Ives told the Times News on Monday that Calendine hasn’t been a part of that organization for several months. 

“While the events surrounding him are unfortunate, he has not been part of Promise Medical Group for quite some time, and of course, will not be,” Ives said. “We have five very qualified providers who will continue to deliver exceptional care to the people of Hawkins County. Promise Medical is committed to being here for the people of Hawkins County now and for many years to come.”

Ives said Calendine's departure from Promise was "his decisions. Well it was a collective decision, a business decision, and he was in agreement with that."


More articles about Dr. Calendine:

Carlie's pediatrician puts up $10,000 reward for her safe return

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

Pediatrician accused of child sex crimes seeks juvenile records of accusers

Rogersville pediatrician Calendine indicted on sexual battery charges

Dr. Calendine's practice business as usual a day after arrest on child sex charges

Hawkins pediatrician charged with public intoxication at high school basketball game

Calendine removed as Cherokee football team doctor due to P.I. arrest

RCS picks Dr. Calendine's medical group for in-school clinic

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