Originally created 03/12/98

Psychologist faces child molestation charges

The decision to charge a Martinez psychologist with child molestation under state laws was an agreement between state and federal agencies, a federal spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Although -- according to court documents -- Dr. Robert Bruce Craft, 55, has been under scrutiny by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents since June 1996, it wasn't until recently that investigators decided to file state charges, said Celeste Armstead, spokeswoman for the FBI.

"It was my understanding that it was determined that state charges would pack more punch," Ms. Armstead said. "It was a joint decision by both (the FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation) to proceed in this way."

FBI agents still have a part in the investigation of Dr. Craft and federal charges have not been ruled out, she said.

Arrested at his Springlakes subdivision home on Monday, Dr. Craft faces two counts of child molestation in Columbia County and four counts of the same charge Richmond County.

Investigators seized numerous photographs, videotapes and camera equipment during a search of Dr. Craft's home Tuesday. Sources close to the investigation said federal agents had searched the house at least twice before.

Arrest warrants specifically accuse Dr. Craft with photographing and videotaping children in a "sexually explicit manner to satisfy and arouse his own sexual desires."

However, the charges, alleged to have occurred between 1993 and 1997, do not accuse Dr. Craft of any specific incidents of touching or performing other sexual acts with children, according to District Attorney Danny Craig.

"You can't allege that unless you have corroborating testimony from the victim," said Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle.

Meanwhile, Mr. Craig is taking steps to seize the home.

Restraining orders filed this week in both Columbia and Richmond counties, will block the sale or transfer of property owned by Dr. Craft and his wife.

Under state law, property used in the commission of the exploitation of children is subject to seizure by authorities, Mr. Craig said.

The court order is the first step authorities must take to bring about the forfeiture of the accused psychologist's Wrightsboro Road office and the family home, said Dr. Craft's attorney, Michael Garrett.

Mr. Craig, however, declined comment on his intentions.

Released from the Columbia County Detention center on $50,000 bond Wednesday, Dr. Craft was immediately transferred to Richmond County.

He was being held Wednesday at the Richmond County jail, said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength. A bond had not been set.


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