Marked by testy exchanges between attorneys and well attended by friends and family of the accused, the bond hearing Friday for a psychologist charged with exposing himself to an 8-year-old patient ended with Kenneth McPherson being granted release.
McPherson, 54, was arrested Monday on a charge of nonaggravated child molestation. He is accused of showing his penis and a book with pictures of nude children to the patient at his office at 2160 Central Ave.
His attorney, Melissa Detchemendy, argued that some of McPherson's young patients are under treatment for disorders such as autism and Asperger's syndrome, making them possibly "unstable." She suggested the allegations might not be true for this reason.
"These are the kinds of kids he was worried about because of these allegations," she said.
She noted that McPherson's office is equipped with video cameras and has a two-way mirror that allows parents to watch their child's session.
However, Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine said the sessions with children were done on the second floor, with parents left in a downstairs waiting room.
Since McPherson's arrest, multiple patients have come forward to accuse him of inappropriate acts, Paine said. However, no new charges have been filed yet because officials have not completed interviews with the victims, some of whom suffer from mental disorders.
"The victims appear to be coming out of the woodwork to say the least," Paine said.
A search of McPherson's office by Richmond County sheriff's investigators uncovered some sexual materials.
"Upon searching the office, there are numerous documents containing nude pictures of grown men, books on masturbating and other inappropriate sexual innuendo that were contained within papers identified as various patients of this defendant," Paine said.
Detchemendy said that the books were for psychological work and not pornographic material.
Senior Judge William M. Fleming Jr. granted a bond of $35,000 on the condition that McPherson not practice psychology and have no contact with children younger than 16.
Afterward, Fleming said he was bothered by such cases because the people interviewing the victims might lead them to a preordained conclusion. Paine then argued that the large number of victims coming forward in the case be acknowledged.
Fleming replied: "Then you'll have a good time prosecuting it then. You may not be as successful as you think."