Cherry Hospital Doctor Reassigned

The acting medical director at Cherry Hospital has been reassigned and will not be returning to the Goldsboro mental facility.

Dr. Robert Owens has been transferred to the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Owens will be treating adult male inmates at the Maury Correctional Institution in Greene County, effective October 1st.

A Heath and Human Services spokeswoman says Owens will not be returning to Cherry Hospital in the interim. Instead, the spokeswoman says, he is taking personal leave until October 1.

Owens was placed on investigatory leave back in July, the same day WITN started asking questions about his criminal past.

Owens has a 1989 conviction for taking indecent liberties with a child.

HHS says when he was hired in 1993, the state had no mandatory background checks for new employees. The state says Owens listed his conviction on his state job application.

A corrections department spokesman says Owens' transfer was a mutual agreement between the two state agencies. Keith Acree says they felt this new position is an appropriate work situation, based on what Owens was facing.

The state says Owens annual salary at the Department of Corrections will be $164,518.00, which is what he was making prior to his promotion at Cherry to acting medical director.