Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

(Tonya Craft) Not guilty on all 22 counts (DukeLax-style Frame attempt fails)
Chattanooga Times Free Press ^ | May 12, 2010 | Joy Luckachick

Posted on 05/12/2010 5:53:51 AM PDT by abb

RINGGOLD, Ga. — A jury has said she’s not guilty and the trial that devastated her life is over, but Tonya Craft says she’ll never recover what she’s lost.

“There is not a winner. There can be restoration, and there can be awareness for others to not go through this, but there are two birthdays for my daughter that I’ll never get back,” Ms. Craft said Tuesday, fighting back the tears.

Two years after she was accused of molesting three girls, Ms. Craft said the first thing she cares about is regaining custody of her two children.

Defense attorney Scott King said he is filing a motion today in Hamilton County, asking a court to award Ms. Craft full custody of her children.

After Ms. Craft was charged in 2008 with 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and sexual battery, her ex-husband, Joel Henke, filed for full custody of their children and they have lived with him since.

On Tuesday, as the Catoosa County Court Clerk’s booming voice announced the “not guilty” verdicts on all counts against her, Ms. Craft’s knees buckled. Two of her attorneys kept her from falling as she cried hysterically on their shoulders. The attorneys whisked her away under the protection of four Catoosa County sheriff’s deputies.

At her parents’ home in East Ridge, Ms. Craft was greeted like a celebrity by her friends, their children and family members, all rejoicing in the verdict/

“We’re going to get our babies back,” Ms. Craft’s mother, Betty Faires, said, clasping her own hands in joy.

Ms. Craft wiped tears from her eyes as she looked at her supporters.

“The only thing that’s kept me going and fighting is my two children,” Ms. Craft said under the lights and cameras of national and local media. “And other people that are falsely accused; I’ll do anything I can to protect them from being falsely accused.”

Ms. Craft lost her job as a kindergarten teacher in Chickamauga City Schools when she was charged. On Tuesday, Chickamauga Superintendent Melody Day would not say whether the district would consider rehiring Ms. Craft.

“We can’t comment. It’s a personnel matter and that’s confidential,” she said.

But Ms. Craft said she doesn’t plan to teach again. She said she may consider going to law school.

After the news conference, Ms. Craft, her husband, David, and defense attorney Demosthenes Lorandos flew to New York for an interview on NBC’s “Today Show.” Her friends and family shouted and clapped as she left.

“Thank you, Jesus,” said Diane Ellis, Ms. Craft’s friend, who has been in the courtroom each day of the trial. “Without him, it wouldn’t have happened.”

But there still are casualties. A trial that lasted more than a month — the longest recorded in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit — has torn apart friends and families.

Three families that were close to Ms. Craft came forward with the accusations that she molested their daughters when the girls spent the night at her home.

The greatest fear of every mother, every minister, Boy Scout leader and teacher was played out in the courtroom, Mr. Lorandos told the jury in his closing statement.

“Well, if there’s no physical evidence and all it takes is a kid saying it and their parents being really upset about it, if that’s all it takes, we’re all duped,” he said.

The jury rejected the prosecutors’ argument that the children’s interviews were enough evidence to convict her. Mr. Lorandos said the girls were led through shoddy interviews and poor investigation to believe they were abused.

Now Ms. Craft says she wants to give hope to others who are treated as she has been.

“First and foremost, she wants to make sure this never happens again,” Mr. Lorandos said Tuesday evening. “She will change the way children are interviewed.”

Staff writer Ben Benton contributed to this article


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dukelax; georgia; nifong; tonyacraft
Of interest to our DukeLax Group. Bill Anderson turned this one around with his blogging.
1 posted on 05/12/2010 5:53:51 AM PDT by abb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: abner; Alia; beyondashadow; Bitter Bierce; bjc; Bogeygolfer; BossLady; Brytani; bwteim; Carling; ..

ping


2 posted on 05/12/2010 5:55:02 AM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb; All
Photobucket
3 posted on 05/12/2010 5:58:09 AM PDT by TheRobb7 (Being asked to produce I.D. is a burden that falls on everyone)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: abb

Did they put her accusers on the witness stand?


4 posted on 05/12/2010 5:59:45 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb
The jury rejected the prosecutors’ argument that the children’s interviews were enough evidence to convict her. Mr. Lorandos said the girls were led through shoddy interviews and poor investigation to believe they were abused.

One of the standard techniques that "child advocates" and police use to frame up innocents.

5 posted on 05/12/2010 5:59:58 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb
Little kids can be manipulated very easy.

When I worked at the "Y", I had to think...what if this little 4 (say 6) year old kid said I touched him....when I took him to the john and wiped his butt.

6 posted on 05/12/2010 6:01:07 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (What)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb
In addition to the original charge, this got my attention:

Three families that were close to Ms. Craft came forward with the accusations that she molested their daughters when the girls spent the night at her home.
7 posted on 05/12/2010 6:01:51 AM PDT by demkicker (Helping Democrats Become Extinct)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: from occupied ga

>> One of the standard techniques that “child advocates” and police use to frame up innocents.

Martha Coakley and her persecution squad comes to mind.


8 posted on 05/12/2010 6:02:01 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: abb

Bravo to Bill Anderson to the terrific work he did in bringing this to light. Also his great Duke LAX work.


9 posted on 05/12/2010 6:03:05 AM PDT by all the best
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick
Martha Coakley and her persecution squad comes to mind.

Yes that vile b!tch ruined several lives with no consequences to herself as I recall.

10 posted on 05/12/2010 6:03:58 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick
Did they put her accusers on the witness stand?

Yes. We followed the case very closely over at Liestoppers. It was obvious after the first week the kids had been coached what to say by their handlers. William Anderson, one of our great writers from the Duke Lacrosse Frame discovered this case because he is originally from the Chattanooga area and still has kinfolk in the area. His blogging was key in turning this thing around. The prosecutors were Nifong II. And the judge was way crooked.

11 posted on 05/12/2010 6:07:47 AM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: demkicker

She has children of her own - even teachers kids can have sleep-overs.

The pastor of the church I grew up in always watched his back for this kind of stuff. He NEVER picked-up or took home a baby sitter, always had his wife do it. You must take care of yourself in these situations, and never put yourself in a bad place.


12 posted on 05/12/2010 6:08:12 AM PDT by LearnsFromMistakes (Yes, I am happy to see you. But that IS a gun in my pocket.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: from occupied ga

Violet, Cheryl and Tookie Amirault were railroaded by the AG’s office. Martha Coakley did her best to drag the travesty out for over a decade. B!tch is right!


13 posted on 05/12/2010 6:09:03 AM PDT by ladyjane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: from occupied ga

>> that vile b!tch ruined several lives with no consequences to herself

Well, she was supposed to be coronated Senator and she lost.

What goes around, comes around. Maybe not here and now, but eternity offers plenty of time for settling the score.


14 posted on 05/12/2010 6:09:14 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: abb

>> William Anderson... blogging was key in turning this thing around.

Do you have a link to his blog? Thx


15 posted on 05/12/2010 6:13:19 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: LearnsFromMistakes

How old were the kids who accused her from the sleep-overs?


16 posted on 05/12/2010 6:16:00 AM PDT by demkicker (Helping Democrats Become Extinct)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick

http://williamlanderson.blogspot.com/


17 posted on 05/12/2010 6:16:09 AM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Sacajaweau

When I was in college I taught swimming at a local pool to little kids during the summer. One of the other instructors was accused of inappropriate touching by one of the moms. Her own kid said it wasn’t so. Nonetheless, this guys life was hell after that. Had to quit. Name was mud in this small town.

After seeing what happened I decided the job was too dangerous. I quit and went to work the night shift at 7/11 for he rest of the summer.

It’s a shame because I was a good swim instructor and liked it. I could teach a 5 yr. old how to dive in 5 minutes. No knees first stuff.


18 posted on 05/12/2010 6:19:06 AM PDT by super7man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: abb

Helps that she was a she. If this had been a man the chances are good he’d be serving a life sentance. Our legal system is so crooked it’s not even funny but sadly most people think we have one of the best in the world, at least until they have to deal with it.


19 posted on 05/12/2010 6:21:57 AM PDT by trapped_in_LA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sacajaweau
I use what I learned in Scoutmaster training. I'm NEVER alone with someone elses kid. Never.

There's always AT LEAST one other person present.

Period.

20 posted on 05/12/2010 6:22:21 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: LearnsFromMistakes
“You must take care of yourself in these situations, and never put yourself in a bad place.”

Very, very sage advice!

I worked with a woman that was a troublemaker (gossiping, backstabbing, taking credit for other people's work, etc.). Anyway, on two separate occasions she asked me for a ride home after work. Wouldn't you know those two nights were the nights I had very important errands to run, all in the opposite direction of the town where she lived?

Last I heard she was suing the company for ‘mental duress’. Dodged a HUGE potential bullet there, twice.

21 posted on 05/12/2010 6:24:21 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (I suffer from B.S. - Barack Syndrome!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: abb

What I don’t understand is how they could have fired her for it when she hadn’t yet gone to court. And the judge giving custody of her children to her husband when she hadn’t been convicted is mind boggling.

The sad thing is that she probably won’t get her children back except for every other weekend and alternating holidays. Status Quo has been established and she would have to prove that there was a change that involved the lives of the children.


22 posted on 05/12/2010 6:29:43 AM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: demkicker

You thinking she had a Michael Jackson thing going?


23 posted on 05/12/2010 6:31:48 AM PDT by LearnsFromMistakes (Yes, I am happy to see you. But that IS a gun in my pocket.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: trapped_in_LA

Perfectly stated! Well done!


24 posted on 05/12/2010 6:31:53 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (I suffer from B.S. - Barack Syndrome!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: abb

You’re right... he’s a great writer.

I hope that poor woman sues them all into poverty.

FRegards


25 posted on 05/12/2010 6:35:27 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick

Yeah, eternity. It would be nice to see them live there Hell on Earth once in a while.


26 posted on 05/12/2010 6:38:34 AM PDT by j.argese (Liberal thought process = oxymoron)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Lurker

This was 15 years ago and I didn’t think much of it at the time..If I had to do it again, I would have called the parent out of the gym class to do it.


27 posted on 05/12/2010 6:38:42 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (What)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: j.argese

>> It would be nice to see them live there Hell on Earth once in a while.

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

But like you, FRiend, so often I want them to pay NOW! While I watch.

This is one of the most difficult matters of faith with which I struggle.


28 posted on 05/12/2010 6:43:30 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: abb

Salem witch trials all over again.


29 posted on 05/12/2010 6:45:18 AM PDT by windcliff
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LearnsFromMistakes

Wise man. I used to teach Sunday School to 4th graders. Our church had recently instituted a policy that required two teachers in all classes at all times for two reasons: to protect the children and to protect the teachers. It was a good policy.


30 posted on 05/12/2010 6:45:52 AM PDT by twigs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick
O'Reilly covered this case last night with Kimberly Guilfoyle and Lis Wiehl. They said, the accusers were shown on videotape. They also said there was no physical evidence of any molestation.

Two kids and the daughter were all coached by the child molestation advocates. Juries remember the McMartin and Amirault cases. They don't like having no physical evidence and being asked to put someone away solely on the testimony of 3 young kids. They don't buy the 'kids don't lie' line.

31 posted on 05/12/2010 7:29:38 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Are they insane, stupid or just evil?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick
I'm sure it is but I think or maybe believe that comes under the “Render unto Caesar” codicil Do you believe the Almighty would allow criminals to go unpunished and walk among us? Could you say there is a difference between vengeance or revenge and punishment? Could it be vengeance is a matter of lacking the capacity to look into a man's heart? I think if there is one thing the Bible teaches us or attempts to teach us is restraint on passions and deny our baser instincts. The easy thing to do would be to hurt those who hurt us. Well, all that and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee. Take care FRiend, j
32 posted on 05/12/2010 7:29:55 AM PDT by j.argese (Liberal thought process = oxymoron)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Jabba the Nutt
Here's the link to the above mention Bill O'Reilly segment on Tonya Craft.
33 posted on 05/12/2010 7:35:12 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Are they insane, stupid or just evil?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: j.argese

>> I think if there is one thing the Bible teaches us or attempts to teach us is restraint on passions and deny our baser instincts.

Agreed.

I tend to separate punishment duly administered by authority to wrongdoers, which as you suggest IS biblically valid, from my own personal burning hatred and desire to strike back at those who I think “deserve it”, which is not valid according to God’s word.


34 posted on 05/12/2010 7:36:12 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Jabba the Nutt

>> the accusers were shown on videotape

That’s bogus. Unconstitutional, too.


35 posted on 05/12/2010 7:37:19 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick

O’Reilly got it wrong. The kids testified in open court, and were cross-examined, but live cameras weren’t allowed during their testimony.


36 posted on 05/12/2010 7:45:45 AM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: abb

>> O’Reilly got it wrong.

Wow, that’s never happened before! :-)

thanks


37 posted on 05/12/2010 7:47:50 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Nervous Tick

I was doing a bit of quick research for my previous response regarding the matter of “weregilds” but that concept probably wasn’t contemporary with the time of the Bible. Anyway, there was no distinction between murder and manslaughter until the 13th century. Driving your ox over an innocent bystander or hacking off someone’s head with your pen knife were considered the same.
The concept of a sanctuary city was also quite different. Well as long as you didn’t have crushed testicles.


38 posted on 05/12/2010 7:49:30 AM PDT by j.argese (Liberal thought process = oxymoron)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Lurker

I’m a teacher. I always leave the door open during student conferences, even when discussing grades. I’d rather be reprimanded for violating student privacy.


39 posted on 05/12/2010 8:29:31 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: j.argese
Weregeld - the first of three levels of punishment under Germanic/Gothic laws.

Weregeld - payment for damages done. Literally "man money".

Shunning - If the accused refuses to pay, then he is ostracized from the community. That was pretty serious back in the day. Generally led to the accused moving away.

Vendetta - If the person refused to pay, and was protected by his family or others, then the family of the wronged could declare a vendetta. That meant the wronged person or his family could kill the accused, kill all of his family, and seize or destroy all of their property.

All of these remain in some form to this day in the laws or customs of the Roman lands conquered by the Germanic tribes. See the "Godfather" series.

40 posted on 05/12/2010 8:43:28 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: VanShuyten

yup ... quite the concept of cut and dried justice

I knew it was supposed to be “weregeld” not “weregild”. Even the spellcheck here is wrong. Go with yer gut!


41 posted on 05/12/2010 9:11:33 AM PDT by j.argese (Liberal thought process = oxymoron)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Sacajaweau
When I worked at the "Y", I had to think...

Because I've been single all my life and enjoy sports, hunting and the outdoors, my sisters once asked me why I don't get involved with the Big Brothers organization.

It's precisely this situation that has prevented me from doing so. All it would take is one false accusation by a troubled kid and my life and reputation would be ruined forever........No thanks.

42 posted on 05/12/2010 9:39:22 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (Peanut butter was just peanut butter until I found Free Republic.........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: abb

b


43 posted on 05/12/2010 11:05:50 AM PDT by InGodWeTrust-AllOthersPayCash
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb

Thanks for the correction. I thought one of the lawyers said that though.


44 posted on 05/13/2010 10:58:57 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Are they insane, stupid or just evil?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson