Texas Lawmakers Honor Registered Sex Offender
CBS 11's Robert Riggs Reporting
(CBS) Dr. Nilon Tallant beamed with pride as the Texas House of Representatives honored him as their Doctor of the Day last January. The lawmakers who stood to applaud Dr. Tallant have now been left in red-faced embarrassment to learn from a CBS 11 investigation that Dr. Tallant is a registered sex offender. The case underscores problems with background information that physicians self-report under an honor system to the Texas Medical Board.
In a legislative session marked by passage of the death penalty for the worst of sex offenders and tougher prison sentences for others, the Weatherford family physician would appear to be the most unlikely candidate to serve as Doctor of the Day.
Video of House proceedings on January 12th, obtained by CBS 11 under the Public Information Act, indicate that Representative Phil King of Weatherford was supposed to introduce Dr. Tallant, who was a constituent. Rep. King was absent from the floor and the duty fell to East Texas Representative Leo Berman. Rep. Berman happened to be standing near the podium when Speaker Tom Craddick called for the Doctor of the Day introduction.
Rep. Berman was unaware that Dr. Tallant was listed on the DPS Sex Offender Registry when he presented the doctor at the front podium of the House Chamber. The Republican lawmaker from Tyler had no idea who he had introduced until CBS 11 brought it to his attention, “I don't like the idea that I introduced a sex offender. He should have told whoever selected him to be the Doctor of the Day that he is a registered sex offender and not try to appear before the Texas House of Representatives and make himself look legitimate before the entire state.”
Dr. Tallant is listed on the sex offender registry posted on the website of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was indicted on 19 counts of sexual performance by a child in 1996, according to Hays County court records.
The victim was a 17-year-old female patient. Dr. Tallant was a 64-year-old divorcee at the time and ran a family practice in San Marcos. He pleaded guilty to a second degree felony and was sentenced to ten years on probation.