Family doctor charged with incest, sodomy, child porn

CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) – A popular family doctor with a practice in High Ridge is now jailed, charged with possession of child pornography and a numerous sexual assaults against members of his own family.

Police say Dr. Craig Pope was initially discovered when internet child pornography was traced to computers in his Kirkwood home and his High Ridge office.

Investigators tell us when he was questioned about the pornography, images and videos of children being raped, the conversation turned to abuse.  That’s when police say they established a pattern of sodomy and incest against four victims in Pope’s family that dates back to 1986.

In 2006, there was an investigation into Pope after a family member called an abuse hotline saying she’d been molested.  Prosecutors say at the time there was not enough evidence to convict Pope, and he was not charged.

Kirkwood police, who investigated the case, say family members were reluctant to testify against Pope.

That didn’t stop the Missouri Department of Social Service’s Child Abuse and Neglect Board from ruling civilly that Pope had molested the child in question. Court documents from that group indicated that Pope’s wife was aware of abuse, and had even been instructed to keep him and the children separated.  Pope sued that group in 2009 to have the finding removed.  He and his wife remain married according to police.

Prosecutors concede it is frustrating they couldn’t make the case then.

“It’s not just frustrating. It’s really tragic,” St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough said.  “There are a number of cases out there, situations, not just sex cases, where we’d like to file the charges but we know there’s no evidentiary basis for the charge to be filed.  And that’s very frustrating, it’s depressing at times, and we know the victims go through an awful lot.”

Det. Sgt. Adam Kavanaugh of the St. Louis County police is the investigator in the current case.  He says this sometimes comes with the territory.

“We run into cases all the time that we wish there was more evidence to do something at that time as opposed to let it go on.”

At the Dillon Plaza Family Medicine Group, the woman answering the door refused to comment, beyond saying that Pope had been fired.

Outside, a patient of Pope’s, Chris White, was stunned by what he was hearing.

“I was pretty well shocked.  I didn’t know he’d be a person that does that thing.  And I thought he was a pretty good doctor. Now I figure maybe I’ll go find a different doctor that can take care of me.”

Pope is being held on $1 million bond on a total of sixteen charges related to incest, molestation of four female victims, and possession of child pornography.

St. Louis County Police say no other victims have come forward at this time but ask that anyone who may be a victim of Pope to come forward by calling police at 314-889-2341.