Cherry Hospital Doctor With Criminal Past

Thursday, we learned Dr. Robert Owens is on paid leave. That news came one day after WITN news started asking questions about Owens, his role at the hospital and his past.

Leave and basic employment information was all state officials would give us. Sources we spoke to indicated Owens treated both children and adults at the hospital.

Friday, we learned Owens would not have treated children, but he would have had contact with them.

Officials say a background check was not performed on Owens, because there was no law requiring it when he was hired in 1993.

But a Department of Health & Human Services spokeswoman said his job application would have asked him whether he was a convicted felon. The state would not say what response was on his application.

DHHS Spokeswoman Debbie Crane said the investigation will determine if Dr. Owens will return to the hospital and if procedures need to be changed.

Cherry Psychiatric Hospital serves adults and children in 33 Eastern Carolina counties.