Nov 19, 2013 7:13 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Arroyo Grande family therapist charged with armed robbery and burglary

A 55-year-old Arroyo Grande licensed family therapist has been charged with armed robbery and burglary.

Arthur McClay Watkins appeared in a Santa Barbara County courtroom on Tuesday. He is accused of robbing a Santa Maria Wells Fargo Bank at gunpoint around 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Neighbors say Watkins is a father of two and was a youth soccer coach in the community.

Watkins made a brief appearance in court Tuesday after he was formally charged. The charges include robbery, burglary and brandishing a handgun at a police officer who was trying to catch him.

Watkins did not enter a plea and his bail was set at $100,000.

Watkins does have a current California license as a marriage and family therapist. He is the director of the Village Counseling Center that has locations in Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, and Lompoc.

We searched Watkins' therapist license number on the state's Department of Consumer Affairs and found he does not have any current malpractice suits, disciplinary actions or court orders against him.

A Psychology Today profile says he graduated from Pepperdine University in 1990 and has been practicing for more than ten years.

According to an archived webpage for the Arroyo Grande Rotary Club, Watkins was president-elect in 2006 and led committees including song leader and membership and awards.

KSBY interviewed Watkins back in 2008 about how the economic crisis was related to patient stress.

"The more unique you feel like your situation is, nobody else has the problems you have, the more you'll find yourself into a kind of downward cycle and your ability, mentally, to assess things realistically will decrease," said Watkins during the 2008 interview.

Police say Watkins does not have a criminal history.

Since Watkins' arrest, the Village Counseling website and Facebook page have been taken down.
We were able to find an archived webpage for the site. It says Watkins specialized in panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorders and phobias and has advanced training to treat trauma.

He is set to be in court again next month.

Charges were also filed Tuesday against 19-year-old Jose Villa Mendez of Santa Maria. Police say he picked up the money Watkins dropped after the robbery. Mendez ran off but was caught.

Mendez is charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property.



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