Local nurse sentenced to 30 years for child molestation, still saw patients before trial

AUBURN, Wash. — A local nurse practitioner charged with child molestation was still allowed to see patients at MultiCare.

Justin McClanahan, 31, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He worked at MultiCare in Auburn until October 2018.

But in July of 2016, more than two years earlier,  McClanahan was charged with seven counts of child molestation. According to court documents, he molested young girls, one as young as 4-years-old.

The charges stemmed from his contact with kids in 2005 in Sacramento County California when he was about 18-years-old .

In recent years, McClanahan lived in Maple Valley with his wife and son and worked for MultiCare. His bio on their website says he studied at the University of Washington -- and specialized in psychopharmacology and early childhood development.

In October, McClanahan was convicted of five counts of child molestation. Just days before Christmas, on Dec. 21, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

KIRO-7 asked MultiCare why McClanahan was allowed to keep seeing patients while he waited to go to trial?

MultiCare sent a statement:

"We reviewed the information available at the time, including the provider's record at MultiCare and a Child Protective Services report that was closed without findings in 2015. We made a determination based on this information to take precautionary steps that restricted his practice in a way that would protect patients, to include limiting his scope to adult patients only, while the legal process continued in California. The provider's employment was immediately terminated when the verdict was announced."

KIRO 7 checked the status of McClanahan's nursing license with the state and found out it was still active. The Washington State Department of Health explained why:

"When a criminal investigation is involved usually we allow that investigation to take the lead. If we move ahead with an investigation without professional standard of care or clinical issues we would be solely acting on allegations that may be in an investigation in another state or if in this state belong with a different jurisdiction such as law enforcement. We try to make sure we stay in touch but do not want to act on an allegation until it has been through its process.

"If we acted on allegations that are born out of other agencies' investigative processes and that is taken to a court of law where the person or agency is found innocent then we would have acted incorrectly concerning an allegation that wasn't proven."

Patients told KIRO-7 they don't understand why McClanahan wasn't placed on administrative leave until the trial was complete.

McClanahan is in the Sacramento County Jail waiting to be transferred to state prison in California.

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