Arraignment pushed back for psychologist in lewd conduct case

Attorneys for Thomas Gary Amberson, PsyD, a Claremont psychologist accused of lewd conduct upon a child earlier this month, have been granted additional time to review their client’s case.

Mr. Amberson made his first court appearance this week after charged with 5 counts of lewd conduct on a child and one count of possession of child pornography late last month.  A representative from the Licensing Board for Psychologists was present during the arraignment. In addition to hearing his charges, Mr. Amberson was prohibited by a protective order from contacting the victims.

The arraignment was pushed back as Mr. Amberson’s attorneys desired more time to look over their client’s case before entering a plea, according to police. The Claremont psychologist will return before a Pomona Courthouse judge on January 16 for the arraignment and a bail review, says Claremont Lieutenant Shelly Vander Veen.

Troubles began for the 56-year-old resident of Upland with a psychological practice in Claremont after a 9-year-old male alleged that Mr. Amberson had made inappropriate contact with him during a counseling session. It was the second time such an allegation has been made about the psychologist, accused of inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old male in 2008. Though the District Attorney did not file in the 2008 case due to lack of evidence, the incident will be included as part of the latest criminal filing.  

Claremont police officers say they conducted a search of Mr. Amberson’s business on November 15 following the most recent allegation. During the search, detectives claim a computer containing child pornography was found. Mr. Amberson was arrested and released later that day after posting $100,000 bail.

Mr. Amberson has been a practicing psychologist for more than 20 years with experience counseling both children and adults. He specializes in children and teen issues such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and offers evaluations in learning problems, parenting, abuse, depression, stress, grief and anxiety/panic disorder. He received his Doctorate in Psychology from the Rosemead School of Psychology and became licensed in California in March 1987, according to the California Board of Psychology. He maintains a practice off Foothill Boulevard in Claremont.

The Claremont Police Department requests that parents who believe Mr. Amberson may have victimized their child contact the Claremont Police Detective Bureau at (909) 399-5420.

—Beth Hartnett



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