Authorities reopen investigation of child psychologist; 2005 allegations of sexual behavior with kids

March 29, 2011

As far back as 2005, concerned parents have been warning authorities that something was not right with psychologist Kenneth McPherson.

One mother went to the Department of Family and Children Services after her 4-year-old son said McPherson had made him change into his "jungle underwear" and then kissed him on the cheek during a session. Another mother went to police after her son flashed her. When she asked why he had done this, the boy said, "That's what we do at Dr. Ken's office."

These allegations are contained in a search warrant filed after investigators seized computers, USB drives, photos of nude men and women and other items from McPherson's office at 2160 Central Ave. last week. McPherson, whose patients are primarily children, was arrested on charges that he showed his penis and a book with pictures of nude children to an 8-year-old, borderline autistic male patient. That allegation was made earlier this year.

In light of his arrest, authorities are revisiting the 2005 allegations -- both of which never resulted in charges.

In an e-mail Thursday, District Attorney Ashley Wright said her office possesses a closed file on McPherson that includes the allegations by the two victims from 2005. Charges were never brought because of a lack of evidence, she confirmed.

"Because we are reviewing the file in light of new evidence, I prefer not to give any specifics about what occurred," Wright said.

Sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry, who oversees the department's Criminal Investigations Division, said he recalled evidence being an issue with at least one of the allegations made in 2005.

"This case came up a couple of times I was told about," Autry said. "One was sent to the DA and there just wasn't enough there."

This week, authorities added a charge against McPherson, bringing the total to three counts of child molestation. He had been granted a $35,000 bond by Senior Judge William M. Fleming Jr. on March 18 but remains in jail after being denied bond on the new charges, Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine said.

According to an incident report filed last week, a mother whose children have been treated by McPherson asked each of them whether he had touched them inappropriately. Her 9-year-old son said yes, and the mother alleges the boy was touched many times over two years. The details of the third charge were not immediately available.

At a hearing on the new charges Wednesday, Judge Michael Annis denied bond, saying the victims were the most vulnerable members of the community.

"He never left jail," Paine said.

McPherson received his license to practice psychology in 1990. A check Thursday showed it was still active.

Matt Carrother, of the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, said his office cannot legally say whether a complaint has been filed against McPherson or whether an investigation by the office is under way.

Source: Adam Folk, "Case involving doctor reopened," August Chronicle, March 24, 2011.


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