Former Texas A & M Psychology Professor Thomas Dougherty, Convicted for Child Porn, Delivers Psychological Testing Services in Houston

December 23, 2020

It recently came to the attention of Citizens Commission on Human Rights that Thomas Dougherty currently delivers psychological testing at a mental health care agency in Houston, TX.

In 2007, Dougherty, who is a Ph.D., was a tenured professor in the psychology department of Tarleton State University (part of the Texas A & M University system), located about 75 miles southwest of Fort Worth. According to this curriculum vitae, he specialized in learning disabilities, child and infant cognitive development, and child sexual abuse.

The Tarleton State University Police Department began investigating Dougherty in December 2007 after a student working near Dougherty’s office discovered a suspicious computer folder with the professor’s name on it. The student reported the discovery to campus police, who referred the case to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit.

On March 26, 2008, a grand jury in Erath County, Texas returned a three-count indictment against Dougherty for possession of child pornography. He turned himself into to the Erath County Sheriff’s Department on April 3rd.

Dougherty was dismissed from Tarleton in August 2008 by unanimous vote of the Board of Regents of Texas A & M University.

The Texas Department of Public Safety shows that Dougherty was convicted December 17, 2009 and sentenced to 10 years’ probation. He must register as sex offender for life.

In Texas and other states, one must be licensed by the state to practice psychology in the clinical, school, or forensic setting. Dougherty has never been licensed in Texas or elsewhere to practice any of the psychology specialties. (Psychology researchers/professors are not required to be licensed.) Because he reportedly delivers psychological testing (not treatment) in a non-profit health organization, he may not be required to be licensed.

Sources: “Former University Professor Indicted On Child Pornography Charges,” Glen Rose Reporter (Glen Rose, TX), Apr. 3, 2008, URL: https://www.yourglenrosetx.com/article/20080403/opinion/304039960; “Ex-professor indicted in child porn case,” www.myplainview.com, Mar. 26, 2008, URL: https://www.myplainview.com/news/article/Ex-professor-indicted-in-child-porn-case-8433959.php; Minutes of the Meeting of Regents of the Texas A&M University System, July 31-August 1, 2008, p. 69, URL: https://assets.system.tamus.edu/files/bor/pdf/Minutes/Regular/2008/2008-7-31-8-01%20(corrected%205-20-2014)c.pdf; and Texas Public Sex Offender Registry entry on Thomas Michael Dougherty, as accessed 12/14/20, URL: https://publicsite.dps.texas.gov/SexOffenderRegistry/Search/Rapsheet?Sid=08161673

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