Originally created 02/18/99

Psychologist pleads not guilty to charges



APPLING -- Martinez child psychologist Robert Bruce Craft has pleaded not guilty to more than 100 counts of child molestation and sexual exploitation arrayed against him in both Columbia and Richmond counties.

Dr. Craft's attorney, Bill Davison, entered the not-guilty plea for his client Wednesday morning during a formal arraignment hearing before Superior Court Judge Albert M. Pickett.

In January, a Columbia County Grand Jury named Dr. Craft in a 73-count indictment alleging incidents of sexual exploitation of children since 1994.

The indictment accuses Dr. Craft of three misdemeanor and 55 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 15 counts of child molestation.

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

He has been held without bond at the Columbia County Detention Center since his re-arrest Jan. 26 at his Knollcrest Circle home. He had been free on bond for almost 10 months.

His license to practice was suspended by the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists on Jan. 29.

Dr. Craft first came under scrutiny of federal authorities in 1996, when FBI agents seized about 37,000 photographs of children from his Martinez home and from his Wrightsboro Road office.

No federal charges were ever filed against him.

In March, however, Dr. Craft was arrested after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted another search of his home and office, seizing more photographs of children as well as computer and camera equipment.

No trial date has been set for his case in either county.

S.B. Crawford can be reached at 868-1222, Ext. 111, or scraw@augustachronicle.com.