Originally created 01/27/99

Augusta doctor is indicted

Nearly 10 months after a child psychologist was arrested on child exploitation charges, grand juries in Richmond and Columbia counties issued indictments Tuesday against Dr. Robert Bruce Craft.

In Richmond County, the Martinez resident, who had an office in Augusta, was indicted on 45 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of child molestation.

In Columbia County, Dr. Craft was named in a 73-count indictment that alleges numerous incidents of sexual exploitation of children since 1994. The Columbia County indictment specifically accuses Dr. Craft of three misdemeanor and 55 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 15 counts of child molestation.

FBI agents began an investigation of Dr. Craft in June 1996, seizing about 37,000 photographs of children from his Martinez home on Knollcrest Circle and from his Wrightsboro Road office that October.

Although no federal charges have been filed against Dr. Craft, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted another search of the psychologist's home and office in March, seizing about 1,000 more photographs of children as well as computer and camera equipment.

Dr. Craft initially was charged with just a few counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and child molestation in Richmond and Columbia counties. He was held without bond from his March 9 arrest until April 15, when Richmond County Magistrate

Presiding Judge H. Scott Allen set a $50,000 bond after weeks passed without an indictment. Dr. Craft already had posted another $50,000 bond in Columbia County.

The indictments were issued Tuesday by grand juries in both counties.

"It's quite a complex investigation," District Attorney Danny Craig said of the reason why the case has taken so long to get before a grand jury. His office didn't receive the state investigative report until last fall, and then the evidence had to be assimilated, Mr. Craig said.

The charges of sexual exploitation of a minor concern photographs of children, mainly boys under age 6, but a number of the photographs are of an older child, and a couple were of teen-agers, Mr. Craig said. The photographs were taken at various times from Oct. 1, 1995, through Dec. 31, 1996, according to the indictments.

The indictments allege that Dr. Craft created and brought into the state photographs that depict children in lewd displays of their private parts or engaging in explicit behavior ranging from [filtered word] to urination.

Most of the child molestation charges are related to photographs of children, as well. However, Dr. Craft also is accused of fondling one boy and asking the same child to perform a sexual act.

At Mr. Craig's request, Superior Court Chief Judge William M. Fleming Jr. ordered evidence shown to the grand jury -- a three-ring binder containing 75 photographs seized by police -- sealed until the trial.

"We did that to protect the identities of the victims," Mr. Craig said.

Columbia County sheriff's officers arrested Dr. Craft at his home late Tuesday on the new charges.

Mr. Craig said it is normal for a person to be arrested again after indictment when he faces additional charges other than those listed on the original arrest warrant.

The prosecutor said he would oppose bond for Dr. Craft. The psychologist should be arraigned within a month, at which time he will enter a plea.

Sandy Hodson can be reached at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augusta

chronicle.com. S.B. Crawford can be reached at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or scraw@augustachronicle.com.


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