PURVIS - A former Hattiesburg police officer is being held on a $1.25 million bond on charges of child exploitation and sexual battery against a child who was four years old when the alleged crime occurred, authorities said.
Timothy Craft, 42, was arrested by the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department on Friday. He was a police officer for the city of Hattiesburg from August 1992 to April 1994, according to the Hattiesburg American newspaper, which cited city records.
Craft pleaded not guilty to the charges at an initial court appearance Monday. Justice Court Judge Carol Ann Bustin said Craft could serve a life sentence if convicted.
Jones County investigator Matt Ishee said a two-year investigation revealed that Craft had taken more than 100 lewd photos of the girl in August 2004. He also is charged with engaging in sexual acts with the girl, according to affidavits.
Craft’s ex-girlfriend, Lola Hulsey of Hattiesburg, was convicted two years ago of one count of child molestation and sentenced to 12 years in jail. Craft was originally charged on one count of child exploitation at the same time as Hulsey in April 2005, said Assistant District Attorney Dennis Bisnette.
However, Craft was never taken to trial at the time “because he furnished evidence against her (Hulsey) we couldn’t get otherwise,” Bisnette said.
The couple was charged with abusing the same girl, officials said.
“The charges filed against Lola Hulsey and Timothy Craft rise out of the same facts and circumstances,” said District Attorney Hal Kitrell. Kitrell said he cannot reveal further case details or similarities at this time.
Hulsey was charged after pictures of the girl appeared on Craft’s computer. The pictures were taken at Hulsey’s residence in Lamar County, Ishee said. Craft was allegedly the photographer.
Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said the investigation is ongoing and future charges against Craft are possible.