Originally created 04/10/98

Child molestation case ready to start

Prosecutors began civil actions this week to revoke the professional license and confiscate property belonging to a child psychologist they contend maintained a large collection of child pornography.

The forfeiture cases were filed Wednesday in the Superior Courts of Richmond and Columbia counties. Temporary restraining orders to prevent the sale or transfer of property owned by Dr. Robert Bruce Craft and his wife expired Thursday.

Although Dr. Craft, 55, was arrested on charges of child molestation and sexual exploitation of children in both counties last month, he hasn't been indicted. He is being held without bond in the Richmond County Jail.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Fleming said Thursday prosecutors will soon present evidence seeking indictment by grand juries in both counties.

The FBI began investigating Dr. Craft in June 1996 and seized about 37,000 photographs of children from his Martinez home and Augusta office in October 1996. No federal charges have been filed against Dr. Craft.

Last month, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was asked to join the probe, and following the confiscation of about 1,000 new photographs from Dr. Craft's home and office, state charges were filed.

In addition to seizing photographs and videotapes in March, GBI and local officers seized 99 items of computer, television and camera equipment.

The civil forfeiture cases seek not only the equipment seized but Dr. Craft's financial interest in his Wrightsboro Road office and his home in the 4100 block of Knollcrest Circle. According to tax assessors' records, the office is valued at $82,200, and the home is valued at $185,633.

The civil forfeiture cases also seek the revocation of Dr. Craft's license to practice psychology in Georgia. The secretary of state's Office didn't return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment.

Staff Writers S.B. Crawford and Tom Corwin contributed to this article.


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