Charlotte child psychiatrist used AI to create child porn. Now he heads to prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a Charlotte child psychiatrist to 40 years in prison for using artificial intelligence to create child pornography.

On top of his sentence, David Tatum, 41, will also have 30 years of supervised release for the sexual exploitation of a minor, Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina said in a release.

Tatum was also ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined within 90 days, a $100 special assessment per count of conviction and a special assessment totaling $99,000 under the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act.

He could see a maximum fine of $750,000, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

Upon his prison release, Tatum also will be required to register as a sex offender in any state or jurisdiction where he works or resides.

“As a child psychiatrist, Tatum knew the damaging, long-lasting impact sexual exploitation has on the well being of victimized children,” King said in the release. “Regardless, he engaged in the depraved practice of using secret recordings of his victims to create illicit images and videos of them. Tatum also misused artificial intelligence in the worst possible way: to victimize children.”

Tatum formerly worked for Atrium Health and was indicted and arrested in June 2022, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

Details behind the charges

The child psychiatrist owned a collection of images and videos between 2016 and 2021 depicting the sexual abuse of children, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

As trial evidence established, he produced some of the content himself, secretly recording a minor who was undressing and showering in 2016 while he lived and practiced in New York, prosecutors say.

That same year, Tatum surreptitiously recorded one of his New York patients during an outpatient visit, five days after the youth turned 18.

“It is horrific to believe anyone would secretly record children undressing and showering for their own sexual gratification. And children through difficult mental health situations, it is inconceivable,” FBI Charlotte Special Agent in Charge Robert M. DeWitt said in a statement.

Additionally, trial evidence established that Tatum used AI to digitally alter clothed images of minors making them sexually explicit. Specifically, evidence showed Tatum used a web- based artificial intelligence application to alter images of clothed minors into child pornography.

Two of the images Tatum used AI to modify were from a school dance and a photo commemorating the first day of school.

In May, a federal jury in Charlotte convicted Tatum of one count of production of child pornography, one count of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to a federal prison facility.

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