Tonya Craft Acquitted

A pleasant surprise: Today a Catoosa County, Georgia, jury found Tonya Craft, the kindergarten teacher whose prosecution had all the earmarks of a trumped-up molestation panic, not guilty of sexually abusing three girls. I'll have more later.

Previous coverage of the case here.

Addendum: Craft took the stand in her own defense last week. Closing arguments were yesterday, when the jury deliberated for about two and a half hours. It deliberated for another day before reaching a verdict about 4:30 p.m. Some local responses here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Not all would be witch hunters can find sympathetic juries.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Not guilty but her life ruined. Better than jail i suppose but with no accountability to the prosecutors this will continue.

    yeah...it's the best i can do for positive

  • Attorney||

    I can be more positive. If she had been found guilty, people would always assume that there must have been something there, or else the jury would have acquitted her. The acquittal removes that shade of doubt. It's much better to be able to say "I was acquitted on all counts" than "I was wrongly convicted."

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Good point...still...just wish "true" justice would be served by holding the state accountable for shotty investigation/police work/prosecution. But you do make me feel a little better, now for Radley's ball buster tomorrow.

    Kick me in the jimmys

  • melman||

    yes, counselor, it is better to be acquitted than to be convicted

  • Bob c||

    Probably the dingiest comment I've ever read.
    Who'd have thunk being acquitted is better than being convicted?
    How insightful you are!

  • ||

    Yes, I agree with the concept that being acquitted is better than being convicted, however, you overlook one simple fact. It's better to NOT be charged of a crime you didn't commit than to be acquitted of a crime you didn't commit. In cases where abuse (in any form) of a child is the issue, the acts themselves are so reprehensible in our society that it almost always violates one of the principles of our justice system: Innocent until proven guilty. Yes, she has been acquitted and therefore is not quilty of the crime, but this woman has had her life destroyed and just being acquitted will never give that back to her. The stigma of the accusation itself, and the fact that she now shows felony arrest on her record will never go away. Her life will never be the same and it's all due to a witchhunt where her name and reputation were dragged through the mud. Cliché Bandit is absolutely right in that false accusations need to be held accountable. This does not mean that if someone reports suspected abuse and it turns out to be false, they should be held accountable. But in cases where children are found to be coached into lying, or where it is found to be simply malicious or incompetence on the accusers part, that is where the accountability must ALSO lie. I wholeheartedly believe children should be protected from abusers, but false allegations and coaching children to lie, in my opinion also cause them harm. Shouldn't the falsely accused and the children be protected from this type of harm also?

  • ||

    Looking for Truth~An excellent post. The parents of these children should be held accountable. Can you imagine the damage caused to these children at the hand of their own cruel parents? These children will have emotional scars beyond belief. IMO

  • ||

    My brother was recently convicted of inappropriate touching and endangering the welfare of a child. He was also charged with attempted penetration and endangering the morals of a child (not guilty on those two) We (my family and I) were stunned at the verdict. There was no evidence and the case was a 8 year girl telling her 10 year old brother that my brother had touched her. There is much background regarding this case that is too much to go into now - we are filing an appeal and are hoping for a new trial. I am dismayed at how quickly a person is found guilty with the word of a child.

  • Sister of one who was falsely ||

    My heart goes out to all those sitting in jails falsely accused and NOT ACQUITTED. My brother's case was eerily similar, but as is often the case MEN are not judged as women are. My brother has been rotting in a TX prison for the last 4.5 years and will not be eligible for a parole hearing until 2023! We didn't have $500K to fight the system, or the family of a child who was coached, or the corrupt ADA and judge and the so-called experts at the Outreach program. We see star athletes and celebrities walk away seeming unscathed by similar scandals. Everyday men and women across this country are losing their families, good names and FREEDOM because of our beloved country's "liberty and justice for some" judicial system!
    The parents and shoddy lawyers should also be held accountable for the damage done to innocent people and the children who are used as pawns in the courts on a daily basis.

  • AJs||

    Great news! Not guilty on all counts... that is fantastic!!

  • ||

    Attorney, is it possible for the prosecutors to appeal this?

  • ||

    No. One of the good things about our legal system (as opposed to those of other countries) is that not guilty verdicts can't be appealed.

  • ||

    Except it can be dragged to civil court...

  • Drug Warrior||

    Only if Eric Holder decides to make a Federal case out of it. (If Janet Reno were still AG, that would be a possibility.)

  • ||

    I can't think of a federal charge that could possibly apply, even theoretically. Though she certainly could've made one up.

  • SIV||

    You can't go anywhere in Chickamauga GA without crossing the Tennessee line(almost). She lives in a near suburb of Chattanooga and most certainly crosses into TN daily.With children!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good news.

    And now, for some bad news:

    http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpps/ne.....to-sheriff's-office_7473289

    Say, all you pro-union types... how long should this teacher be allowed to sit in the "rubber room" and draw taxpayer-financed checks?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Oops... she's been fired.

    Well, good. And NO goddamn way should she ever be allowed near kids again.

  • North Georgia Girl Who Knows||

    She was found NOT GUILTY! Wrongfully accused. She worked to be a teacher and she should have all of that back. Attorney's make people fire people in our society where you are "GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT". I hope all of the guilty parties who persecuted her and took what she had worked for away are held accountable....she should sue them!

  • cynical||

    He seems to be talking about a different story (a teacher caught beating a student on tape?), though the link didn't work for me. It's DC local news, for what that's worth. At any rate, he started off with "good news" about the acquittal, so I'm pretty sure he's talking about something else.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Sorry, didn't get the link copied properly. See if this one works:

    http://www.39online.com/news/l.....9016.story

    My apologies to North Georgia Girl.

  • ||

    Thanks Guy for the correct link.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It happened in Houston, cynical. Would make a good story for Reason.

    Hint.

  • ||

    Would you let your daughters go over to her house for another one of her "slumber parties". I bet you wouldn't.

  • JD||

    My case was similar to Tonya's and I can say that I would most certainly not WANT to have your daughters come over to my house.

    After being accused of this it is damned near impossible to interact with children in the same way, ever again.

  • Ange ||

    Libertarian Guy,

    You're in idiot.

  • Zeb||

    Libertarian Guy is talking about a different case where a teacher was caught on tape beating a student.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Apparently, Ange didn't read the other posts.

    Thanks for the backup, Zeb. I should have elaborated more in my initial post, though.

  • ||

    Ange~Give Guy a break. It was quite obvious even without the correct link that he was referring to a different case.

  • RM||

    What's scary is that some of the posters seem to think that the teacher had the right idea.

  • SIV||

    So when they threw her in the pond she sank?

  • ||

    I await something horrible tomorrow morning from Radley.

  • Jordan Elliot||

    Caution ye bearer of mine true name.

    This and the whole video raid thing getting attention may be some genuinely good news. Let's hold a bit of hope.

    I'm guessing Radley will drop some type of bomb next week...

  • Ben P.||

    Yeah. It's the karmic cycle. We get that shred of positive news, and then we lower our guards, and then *WHAM*, nut-crunching kick.

  • Colin||

    She's got her freedom. When does she get her reputation back?

  • Virginity||

    Once it's gone, it's gone.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Great news, and not just because she bears a spooky resemblance to an ex-girlfriend of mine (who I still must have been guilty of something).

  • ex-girlfriend ||

    (who I still must have been guilty of something)...So you're a writer?

  • Jaime Kelly||

    Awesome. Can I now get back to my fantasies of fucking her bald pussy?

  • -||

    Troll or Tourette's? He spews, you decide.

  • zoltan||

    LOL, he loves children.

  • ||

    All love is good love.

  • anarch||

    I still must have been guilty of something

    RC's Law!

  • Paul||

    Thank God. Sadly, Tonya Craft will probably (and not surprisingly) be standoffish about her relationship with the children in her class for some time to come.

    It doesn't matter how innocent she is in actuality-- there will be that segment of parents who will 'wonder'.

  • ||

    The system worked?

  • &||

    Apparently. Unless she was (shudder) really guilty...

  • ||

    Yes, if you consider consider totally ridiculous and obviously false charges being brought and tried in the first place working. And don't forget she is she spent a small fortune defending herself from these bogus charges. And even though she was found innocent, there is still legal talking heads on tv casting aspersions on her innocence.

  • &||

    So you're absolutely certain she is innocent? What's it like to be omniscient? Awesome?

  • ||

    Just goes to show you what the price of the truth is, $500,000.00 and enough designer clothes to fill a small closet....oh and don't forget the hair extensions and the deep breathing classes!!!

  • ||

    James~Her clothes certainly didn't have the appearance of a designer label. If a woman can afford designer clothes, she wouldn't just have a small closet to fill. Why would anyone care if she had hair extensions? If you were wrongly accused of a crime would you do everything in your power to prove that you are innocent?

    IMO

    Google~deep breathing classes~it's just a technique for calming

  • melman||

    wow, i'm shocked, in a pleasant way

  • melman||

    but unfortunately she's in line behind ray donovan in the Office of Getting Your Reputation Back, and it is a long wait to be processed

  • generic Brand||

    It really is sad that in a society living under "Innocent Until Proven Guilty," you can be found guilty in the court of public opinion, and even when you are acquitted on all charges, you're still never innocent, but "NOT guilty."

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It really is sad that in a society living under "Innocent Until Proven Guilty," you can be found guilty in the court of public opinion, and even when you are acquitted on all charges, you're still never innocent, but "NOT guilty."


    Robert Blake can attest to that.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Are the parents of the children going to go after Tonya Craft in civil court the way OJ Simpson and Robert Blake were pursued in civil court?

  • Naga Sadow||

    They would lose. Hands down. Preponderance of evidence is what counts in a civil case. There didn't seem to be any evidence that was actually credible.

  • ||

    Hopefully Tonya will file civil suits against the accusers for slander and defamation. The case against her was so lame that the witnesses couldn't even get their stories straight, what with the lying, perjury, and "I just remembered" after goin to lunch with my parents testimonies.

  • jasno||

    So what happens now to the fuckers who planted ideas such as 'fisting' in the minds of young children?

    Now that we know that the whole story was made up, surely they must be guilty of child endangerment, child abuse, perjury and conspiracy.

  • ||

    Naah.
    They work for the government.

  • ||

    Yes, children are the ultimate victims in this. There was one 12 year old boy in the McMartin preschool case who absolutely refused to believe that he was never molested and that, indeed, satanic rituals took place in the basement of the school. The school was demolished and there was never anything other than a slab foundation. The McMartins were never reimbursed for the loss of their property, the loss of their reputation, the loss of their freedom and ultimately, their health...yet this one child holds out to this day that he WAS molested. He was pumped full of garbage by the DA's 'experts', and so false memories were implanted. Now he doesn't believe that the legal system (there IS NO such thing as a justice system in reality) that it can protect and he's really a psychological mess... so who was the molester and the victim there... obviously the psychologists who implanted the false memories.

    In Tonya Craft's case, her daughter who testified is a REAL victim and I hope that Tonya and her husband sue the heck out of the DA's office to pay for the therapy that child is going to need to even rebuild things like 1)trust in authorities, 2)trust in family, 3)acceptance that she was USED by unscrupulous authorities, 4) reintegration into the family, 5) that she is not a bad girl but one who was used

    Another point is cases that are so badly prosecuted and witch hunts make it difficult to prosecute real cases so those true molesters are out there to prey on our children. Another reason that jerk of a DA needs to be FIRED... and disbarred. What he did was/is a major legal ethics violation, not unlike the Duke LaCrosse player persecution.

    Accusations like this is why I retired early from teaching. Kids tell each other how to lie against teachers, and parents learn quickly how to fabricate stories enough to take to prosecutors who want to 'make a name'/reputation for being 'tough on crime' for their next election.

    Back in the 80s when I was in university, I was a court observer for VOCAL and did 84 cases and what I observed in the courts ... THAT was the real crime... vindictive ex-wives using the courts to keep children away from their fathers, wounded children feeling disloyal, missing fathers as they didn't realize the full impact of their lies until they were older, guilt feelings, men with lives destroyed psychologically and financially and professionally...
    and then guilty offenders walk free to molest again and again... remember the Dugard case in California.

  • ||

    She was guilty. She spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an internet public relations team to flood the internet forums and websites with fake supporters all pushing the same crazy conspiracy theories. She managed to convince everyone that an entire town of 2000 people all conspired against her. Are you guys fucking crazy? I guess everything really is for sale these days. Here's a hint: since when does a lawyer cost $500,000? It doesn't unless you are hiring Johnny Cochran so where did all the money get spent? Public relations team. Every forum I went to had the same ridiculous conspiracy theory being driven home over and over again. Gee, what a coincidence. She was guilty. Another female pedophile goes free. The woman spent $500,000 on her defense but refused to take a polygraph test? HELLO...HELLO

  • anarch||

    Here ya go, Twinkie.

  • AJs||

    Uhm... she passed two.

  • barfman||

    *baaaaaarrrrrrrrffffffffffff*

  • Jake Boone||

    Welcome to Hit & Run, Judge House.

  • ||

    she passed polygraph test and the prosecuters said they would not press charges if she passed one, well ill be they are liers.

  • tarran||

    It's comical how the people asserting her guilt have to resort to blatant and easily refuted lies to make their case.

    No credible evidence - just obviously coached testimony or children interviewed by quacks who hadn't made it through college.

    Incidentally, the prosecution should be thanking their lucky stars for the acquittal; had they won the conviction, the appellate court would have chewed them up. They could yet end up following the fate of Nifong.

  • ||

    Gss are you afraid to put your real name out there since you are sure of Ms. Craft's guilt? I believe that Ms. Craft specifically stated that there was no conspiracy theory. Take the little girl's video interviews for their truth...in every instance when the girls were FIRST interviewed, they all said nothing happened. Then, it changed to...it must have happened my mommy/daddy TOLD ME it did. Please, I hope that Ms. Craft sues them for defamation of character! I also hope the "Judge" and prosecutors in this case all get fired & disbarred.

  • Zeb||

    Who the fuck are you, the prosecutor's PR guy?
    Whatever happened to "better for 10 guilty to go free than one innocent be convicted"?

  • melman||

    i'm a mid-level litigation drone in a second tier market, and i bill $325/hour (partners above me bill more)

    3 people like me on the case x 10 hours a day for a month x 30 days = $300k easy

    add in expert witnesses, which are SHOCKINGLY expensive, plus the usual disbursements (copies, court fees, etc)


    i'm surprised it only cost her $500k, and keep in mind the government paid far more than that to pursue her

    you have no clue what litigation costs

  • Narcissist07||

    Get your facts straight. She actually passed two lie detector tests with no signs of deception. Now the only people I know that have that ability are CIA agents and Massaud (which she is neither!) The only thing that she did was refuse to talk to a detective without an attorney present, and then the character smearing/assassination began... Go check your facts as well as your anatomy, because you obviously don't know your ass from a hole in the ground!!!!

  • seanrude||

    How do you know that she is not CIA or Mossad? It would be perfect cover for them

  • ||

    GSS is probably blown away that all those guilty people in Jordan, MN got to walk.

    It doesn't matter how many people think a defendant is guilty. You can't judge the innocent based on the number of people fooled by the bogus charge. Even if the charge includes SATAN:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin_preschool_trial

  • William Anderson||

    That is RIDICULOUS!! I was THE Internet blogger on this and had NO contact with her. She PASSED TWO polygraph tests.

    This post is a lie, a big lie. There WAS no public relations team, period. This post is a lie, a huge one.

  • ||

    polygraph tests are not admissible in court... 'hellloooo' yourself

    You are one of the reasons that real cases don't get tried... because you are stupid enough to not see the truth and you certainly do not know the developmental stages of children!

  • ||

    Oh OK. She was guilty because she spent alot of money was on defense??? WTH?! That's the most ignorant thing I have ever heard.
    She hired a defense atty. that is an expert in his field to defend herself against a railroading, small town, corrupt "justice" system. She had no public relations team. She has friends that knew the insanity of these accusations, the vindictive nature of people who "run" these small towns, and the bitterness of an ex-husband. Even if none of these "conspiracies" existed, tell me ONE PIECE of evidence the pros. presented that DIDN'T have holes in it!! Lies, perjury and conflicting stories and dates. NOTHING was concrete. And, oh, BTW she agreed to the polygraph and then they didn't allow her to take it. She then took and passed, not one, but TWO tests and they wouldn't allow them in court, like so much more of the evidence that would have further proven her innocence. Perhaps you should know all the facts before spouting off.

  • Mike||

    She passed two polygraph tests.

  • anarch||

    That too. :-)

  • Catoosa Resident||

    Someone commented that Tonya will be standoffish with kids now. That's wrong: as a teacher's spouse, I can assure you EVERY teacher in Catoosa county will be backing away from kids. False accusations by parents are a fact of life for teachers, but this takes it to a whole new level.

  • JD||

    When I found out about Tonya (sorry for originally mispelling your name Tanya btw!) I immediately knew that she was kindred to me. I posted about it here.

    And you are right. She WILL be standoffish with kids now. If she isn't then she is a much better person than I am. Because after going through what we did, I will never think of anything else anytime a child is near me. You have no idea how devastating it is to be accused of this. They destroy your life and ask questions later.

    No one can know how this feels unless they go through it.

    My best advice to you would be to treat children as you always have... with love and from a mentoring position.

    But that position is completely destroyed for me. I suspect that Tonya feels the same, but speaking for her is incredibly presumptuous of me.

    All I can say is that her case is so incredibly similar to mine that I haven't stopped crying since I heard about it.

    Tonya, if you're out there reading this... You're NOT alone.

  • ||

    Which is why it would be very very very important and a stance for the Crafts to sue the parents this time. SOMEONE has to make it clear that false allegations have real consequences for the ones who make false charges. The teachers unions should make a stand but my guess is that they won't.... they are basically a bunch of wimps who get together to take about $100 from each paycheck so they can have cushy conentions and support unpopular causes.

  • Tiffany||

    Fundraising Picnic for Tonya Craft
    Location:Park in Rinngold by the courthouse
    Time:2:00PM Saturday, May 15th

  • ||

    What I have been most perplexed by is how everyone seems to be either 100% sure she's innocent or 100% sure she's guilty, the latter being a bit more timid given the amount of support she has had in media. I myself have to admit I think most likely she is innocent 90% sure, but it's a bit hard to be 100% sure when one of those who testified was her own child. That's mighty odd. Still messy divorce...so you never know what pressure may have happened. Personally I am still not sure... either way the biggest victims are those kids. Either they were warped by parents/system, or one got away, and now they'll be labeled liars in their community. Either way they were used. I just don't think the whole case is as cut and dry as it has been made out to be. The only thing I'm certain of is this was the worst prosecution team and judge. The whole case against her was a farce. The way they tried to put her on trial for not having ultra conservative morals they pretty much made the larger metro area their enemy...drinking or putting on hot shorts to mow the lawn makes you a pedophile? Really? Or having sex while single? What century are these people from? I think everyone here feels like there's still a bigger story as to how this came about, wonder if that story will be told.

  • ||

    Did you HEAR her daughter's testimony??
    When asked what her mother did to her, she responded, "I can't remember but my Daddy told me." What they DIDN'T allow in court was the part where her daughter said, when asked if her mother ever touched her down there, "She did to put medicine on me." That doesn't sound like a daughter testifying that her mother molested her.

  • ||

    Sadly, her accusers have already destroyed her life through court fees and a permanently tarnished reputation.

  • JD||

    Trust me on this, she isn't very likely to be thinking about court fees and reputation.

    They've devastated her life far beyond that.

  • melman||

    they convinced her own daughter to testify against her

    hard to have a nice thanksgiving dinner together after that

  • JD||

    That's the thing. They'll take the child into a room alone, and video tape them. Then they will invariably come out to say that the child has been abused, and the tape is testimony.

    I find it highly unlikely that they had more than that. In my case, that was their entire basis, and when they were forced to stop withholding the tape, their case fell apart.

  • ||

    It was a near travesty. Justice does exist sometimes, now somebody force the lying accusers to pay Tonya Craft's legal expenses.

  • JD||

    None of you people understand even ONE BIT what this is like. At the sheer hint of any impropriety, they will take your child behind closed doors with a "child psychiatrist" who will invariably come out to say that they believe the child has been molested. This is what happened to me, and what happened to Tanya.

    The problem is that they will NEVER show you the tapes until they are forced to in open court, where in my case, at least, they outright lied. And since I know exactly what it feels like to go through this, I believe in my heart that they lied about Tanya too.

    The worst thing is that you would never find out if you didn't fight against it. And they will do everything that they can to try to make you settle. Even your defense attorney will advise you that you could go to jail for the rest of your forseeable life. And in the face of that, who among you would not be willing to make a deal?

    Me? I said FUCK THEM. I would rather spend the rest of my life in jail than admit to this heinous crime. I fought them tooth and nail.

    They destroyed my life. I lost my job, I lost my family, and the overwhelming sense of sadness was killing me. And that is what they depend on. That is what they believe will make you settle.

    THEY DON'T EVEN CARE IF YOU DID IT!

    The first cop that I met in my case told me outright that they were going to tear my life apart, and he wasn't lying.

    And when I finally got my day in court, it turned out that the tapes they said that proved me guilty were a complete lie. The cop that arrested me sheepishly testified that she didn't know about any of the circumstances.

    I was acquitted of all charges, just like Tanya.

    But do NOT be fooled. Our lives are ruined beyond belief. We'll never be the same again. We will never play with our children in the same way again, without this insidious accusation on our minds.

    Nothing will ever be the same.

    And it all boils down to a "professional" that took our kids into a room and grilled them for a while... and then came out and said that they believed them to be molested.

    Such people WILL burn in hell.

  • Madbiker||

    "Such people WILL burn in hell."

    Sorry beyond belief that this happened to you. I can't imagine the suckitude that is life after wrongful prosecution.

    I do think it is these grave injustices that cause people to have almost religious experiences and begin to believe in eternal punishments (if they had not already done so). When I hear of stories like this, and of people who are really guilty of numerous crimes but get away with them, I begin to hope that there is a God who metes out punishment in the next life. It's cold comfort at best, something has to soothe the sting.

  • JD||

    That comment was out of line and emotional. I don't truly want anyone to burn in hell, even them. But there is so much resentment inside of me that things like that come out.

    If you truly believe in God, then forgiveness is divine, especially against those that have trespassed against you.

    But God help me, I'm not sure I can.

    I will never understand it. That is probably what bothers me the most. I will never understand what they determined in the interview that made them come out of the room and tell the police that I was a child molester.

    I never got to see the tape until my lawyer reviewed it shortly before my court date, which was almost two years after I was accused. But I got a copy afterwards, and I watched it over and over, and I could never see what could possibly have made them think that there was something wrong.

    I guess that is why I hold such resentment in my heart over it, because I could not imagine saying that someone was abused unless it was clear that they were.

    This case has brought so much back to me. It has been well over six years now since I was acquitted. And I have avoided thinking about it as much as I was able.

    Seeing this just makes me feel like I'm in the middle of it all again.

  • melman||

    you got caught up in the machine, i'm not sure if i would be as strong as you under the circumstances

  • ||

    I am so sorry this happened to you. Between the DA systems & the Child Protection Svcs systems, they create their own world of belief system regarding these cases. I was caught up in a divorce situation that ruined my life, took my children away from me and it was all based on a few people building cases for their own career advancements.
    The problem with these agencies is that the accused can never face the accusers or the "evidence" against them. It is all innuendo and smoke and mirrors. The systems that are supposed to protect children are in the hands of some very unstable career-hungry individuals, operating in a cocoon of secrecy & immunity from prosecution.
    The systems - across the country - are in huge need of some unbiased accountability. Until that is in place, these kinds of cases will continue to be blown up and lives ruined - for nothing.

  • Laura||

    You say "None of you people understand even ONE BIT what this is like."... and you don't know who is reading these words. In fact, I do know what it is like. It happened to my family. Only my story didn't end with the happiness that is an acquittal. It ended with a suicide. Mere days after he took his own life (he could not stand the thought of people thinking he was capable of this, and he thought it was his own fault for being a "bad" father) irrefutable evidence was produced showing that he was innocent. Months afterward, an attorney was given the record of the "accusation". The "accusation" ended up being a coerced, "we know it was someone in your family, because kids don't make this up". A fake rape story, made up to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend, led us to take our daughter to the police station, even though she begged us not to. Faced with having to own up to making the whole story up, she agreed that it was someone in the family, only it never was... and my life lies in ruins. The money that you receive in a civil case brought against a police station and detective, never makes up for the fact that a boy lost his daddy, and I lost everything.

    Yes I DO know.

  • JD||

    You're absolutely right. When I posted that, I was very much in an emotional state that I'm not very proud of.

    I am very sorry if I offended you, in any way. I know beyond any doubt that I am not the only one that has ever gone through this. But the entire process makes one feel very alone, whether they really are, or not.

    What you went through is horrible. I was never very far from suicide myself. I know for a fact that the prosecution always takes suicide as a sign of guilt. But the truth is that life becomes very unbearable, and they go out of their way to make it as bad as they possibly can.

    I am so very sorry for being inconsiderate to you and others. It was never my intention.

  • ||

    Well, to state the obvious - if there were inescapable consequences for police, prosecutor, bureaucratic misconduct this sort of thing would happen a lot less frequently. It would be nice to believe that one day these sorts of witch hunts and persecution will be viewed in the same light as those that occurred in Salem.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Well, to state the obvious - if there were inescapable consequences for police, prosecutor, bureaucratic misconduct this sort of thing would happen a lot less frequently. It would be nice to believe that one day these sorts of witch hunts and persecution will be viewed in the same light as those that occurred in Salem.


    I wonder if any vigilantes have the courage to step forward.

  • Jimbo238||

    Regretably, if there were serious consequences for misconduct by the police, prosecutor et al, that would simply up the ante for them to win at any cost.

    (and to state the other obvious... there ARE serious consequences for misconduct. They are paid by the children and the wrongly accused)

  • ||

    It's sickening how mere accusations can negatively affect someone's entire life. I'm happy she could afford the very best of attorneys who advised her fight this to the end. Unfortunately, many in similar situations (accused of any type of sexual crime) are not privy to such representation. Unfortunately, many in similar situations are advised by their attorneys (via horrible threats from prosecutors, to down-right lies toward their clients) to take plea deals to avoid "certain" prison time.

    I'm absolutely sure THERE IS a special corner in hell for the attorneys who sell out their clients like this, and the prosecutors who boost their conviction rates by scare tactics with no regard for justice, only their political futures.

  • JD||

    I was forced to have a public DA. I am ultimately blessed by the fact that I got a good one. The man actually believed in me. He really did fight for me. I was blessed that he was assigned to my case.

    I thought for sure that I was done when I found out that I wasn't able to get my own lawyer. But the DA that I got was almost certainly better than any lawyer I could have paid for.

    But I was lucky, and many people are not.

    Even that good lawyer advised me that a plea bargain was in my best interests. I think that he gained a little bit of respect for me, though, when I told him that the prosecution could stick a plea bargain up their ass.

  • zoltan||

    Why weren't you able to use your own lawyer?

  • ||

    uhhh the DA = District Attorney = PROSECUTOR...
    didn't you mean PD or PUBLIC DEFENDER?
    just wanted to clear that up... it's the DAs in these cases that need to be publicly whipped.

  • JD||

    You're right, I did. I was pretty upset when I was writing this. This case hit me pretty hard. I was having trouble even reading the screen. I've avoided coming back since then just because it's not something I want to think about. But I came back mainly to apologize to everyone for dumping 6 years of emotional baggage on you guys.

    =/

  • Daniel||

    The prosecutor deserves to be cock-punched...or, more correctly cunt-punched....

    The protection for rogue prosecutors must end.

  • ||

    I hope she sues the crap out of these lying liberal bastards. The parents, the interviewers, and the school!

  • Zeb||

    How do you know they are liberal? There are liars and scoundrels of all political bents. Not everything is about partisanship and liberals don't have a monopoly on stupid.

  • ||

    Dude, she probably can't sue any government employees (school, CPS, prosecutors) due to their immunity.

    Interviewers, even if working for the school under contract, probably also have immunity (atty, john, anyone???).

    The parents are the only ones without immunity, and suing them would look really bad.

    Based on what JD wrote, she's probably more concerned with trying to rebuild her life.

    JD: Your story was truly heartbreaking. You, Ms. Craft, and everyone similarly situated has my sympathy.

  • melman||

    she's hot in that picture, but in news photos she looks much much older than 38

    facing a lifetime in prison will do that to you

  • ||

    @Chattanoogan: FWIW, her daughter testified only that her mother had "put medicine on" her. That's it. The prosecution attempted to give it the context of molestation.

    @mapletree: In Ringgold, GA, there ain't no damn liberals. 'cept maybe the hippie that lives out near the highway. Nope, as noted above, scoundrels and liars abound, and hubris and ego trips and power grabs know no political affiliation.

  • Rick||

    I know from personal experience what an overzealous prosecutor and bad interviewers and police can do to someone charged with a mollestation crime that never happened. Children lie, that is a plain fact. The notion that kids tell the truth is rediculous. My wife is a pre-school teacher and you would not believe the stories these 3 to 5 yr olds tell their teachers. They are so good at telling the stories that the teachers believe them until the parent confronts the child and the child tells everyone she made up the story.

    I have a family member that is doing life for a crime that never happened. The laws are wrong and the prosecutors take advantage of the laws which by the way require NO witnesses or physical proof of any kind in the state of florida. This has ruined our entire family. We are in our final appeal in federal court because the State would not put their denial in a written summary because they knew they broke several basic laws during trial and post trial appeals. If they give an opinion in writing you would have the right to go to the Fla Supreme Court to get the trial overturned and because of recent appelate decisions, the Fla Supreme Court would have had to overturn the guilty verdict. The prosecutors and the appelate court are playing with our lives! It is a game to them not Justice!

  • catmagyck||

    I think that folks do not take into account this one simple thing: those little girls were PUNISHED for touching each other, PRIOR to the accusations coming forth. They were PUNISHED for touching, before questions were asked, before anything else. That, imho, was at least part of the cause of the accusations. When you punish a child for a completely NATURAL exploration of their own bodies, you start a horrible guilt complex in their psyches; they're in "trouble", without fully comprehending WHY their parents are upset with them. A five year old child, and usually even YOUNGER than that, explores their own bodies by touching (this usually begins to visibly manifest with potty-training, btw; ask a developmental child psychologist, and even an infant in diapers will reach down to touch themselves while getting a diaper changed), and it's ALSO natural to share that sensation with peers. Punishment causes guilt and the desire to assign blame, to get out of trouble.

    Also, I don't know how many caught the implication in the after-interview, where it was mentioned that a "friend" was no longer a friend, so I have to wonder if perchance a child, overhearing a parent talking about the reason the adult friendship was no more, led the kids to accuse her, rather than another adult, who mommy or daddy was not already "mad" at. Of course, I could be completely wrong, as I have not followed the case from the start (due to health issues), and only following the case the past month or so. I am not as aware of as many details as others here appear to be.

    In addition, I was once accused of molesting my own daughter. Had she been in kindergarten instead of fourth grade when the accusation was made, I have to wonder what the outcome might have been.

    I was accused of "giving her an internal vaginal exam", which of course never happened. She complained to me that she was "itchy", and after simply looking at her genital area (known as "visual inspection"), I, being not only her mother but a nurse, I determined that she most likely had been wiping improperly and had given herself a vag infection, so off to the doctor we went, who confirmed my own diagnosis and treated her for it.

    Six months after the doctor visit is when I was accused. No charges were ever brought against me; the investigator, after going to my daughter's school, pulling her out of school, and grilling her for over an hour with questions about me AND her dad, and THEN coming to my home to talk to us, determined the accusation was baseless and false, particularly when I offered to pick up the phone and contact our doctor immediately and get my daughter's medical records for immediate examination. It would have taken all of fifteen minutes for me to run over there and get copies; I would have even taken the investigator with me to get them. I never did know who it was who had accused me, either, and was certainly NOT my daughter.

    Now, my point of this little tale is simple: my daughter came home infuriated from school that day and her face was dead white with anger. She told me, in detail, about the question-and-answer session with the woman (from CPS) who interviewed her. She said to me, "that woman must have thought I was stupid, Mom. She asked me a bunch of questions, but they were all really the same questions, she just asked them over and over, in different ways." She was angry because she felt the woman was trying to trick her in some way, in addition to being angry about the subject matter of the woman's questioning.

    I have to emphasize that if this had happened when she was five instead of ten, what might have happened? A five year old child just does not have enough understanding and comprehension of verbal language to even know that a question can be phrased to sound like it's a different question and still be the SAME question. They are simply more literal than older children and adults. My fourth-grade daughter knew that, and was able to differentiate, but a kindergarten child? No, I don't think so.

    It's not hard to manipulate a child's mind, and law investigators use similar tools to investigate that a molester uses to warp their victims' minds.

    Trust me on this; I know. I've been there on BOTH sides of this fence, having been molested and having been accused.

  • catmagyck||

    Oh, I forgot to mention an important detail in my little tale.

    When the woman from CPS grilled my daughter, she did so in the school itself, in a private office, with the door closed, and allowed none of the school officials IN the room with them. SHE was alone, with MY daughter. Not even another CPS worker was there! No one was allowed to monitor the session, to protect my CHILD. Even a physician is not supposed to examine a patient (particularly children) without a nurse, MA, PA, NA, etc., present in the room, which helps to insure protection against unjust accusations for both physician AND patient!

    Moreover, none of the school administrators were PERMITTED to contact me at all, while she had MY child alone in a room for such questioning. I had no knowledge that this was going on until AFTER my daughter was allowed to return to her classroom (and was expected to continue her school day as normal), and the woman had left the school grounds, heading for our home to talk to me, at which time the INFURIATED school called me to inform me the woman had been there, talked to my daughter, and was on her way to my home.

    What sort of protection is that against "investigative questioning" for my child?

    Oh yeah, also btw, the woman who did the questioning was merely an employee of CPS, having no children of her own, nor having any sort of child psychological degree to qualify her to conduct such interviews. I presume that CPS considered that their training was sufficient to question kids about possible molestation then?

    All I know is that over a month later, when I spoke directly to the lady's supervisor, (who said, "Well, didn't she tell you that your file has been closed?" NO, of COURSE she wouldn't tell me that!!!), and my subsequent stated intention to sue for false accusation, libel, and defamation of character if this should continue, and that suit would include the woman, the department itself, and my so-called accuser, they left us alone! (Don't we still have the right to face our accusers? Yes, I think so, and if the only way to do that would have been to sue, I most certainly would have done so!)

    I don't know what that says to anyone else, but I know what it said to me-- that something wasn't RIGHT about the entire investigation!

  • ||

    maybe you should have gone to your local newspaper or still can in the light of the Croft trial receiving national attention... Your daughter is obviuosly an intelligent girl and HER story would make really good information about how people's tax money is (mis)spent. It might save some other families and children from a similar experience and force CPS to re-evaluate their protocols. These people are really bullies and bullies thrive on keeping their victims silent.

  • catmagyck||

    You have a really good idea there, Joanna. But going to the local paper where we used to live (we relocated in 2004) could conceivably been a disaster for us. We lived in a very small town, the kind where you have no standing unless your family practically founded the place. It was so small that the local paper only published twice a week, and was usually about 7 pages long, and when we first moved there, it had 2 traffic lights. (When we left, there were 4 instead!). Our other two children were much younger at the time, and naturally, the last thing we wanted was to have our family torn apart.

    However, I had a thought... I wonder if a site or something to gather support for changes in the system might be effective? People who have had similar experiences, comparing events and researching and getting real advice and information? My oldest is approaching 30 now; just remembering the incident still infuriates her. I wonder if her statement would have a greater impact now that she's an adult, and no longer a child? Perhaps tales like ours, brought together, would make a big enough noise to create a REAL system to effectively protect the innocent and still stop the guilty?

    I know how much it changed me inside, and at the end, I decided that I was NOT going be forced to change the way I raised my children. I refused to spend each day looking over my shoulder, wondering who was watching me with my kids, and what they might think, or do or say. That's when I stated my intention to sue. Then abruptly, it was over. It took a very long time to begin to relax and feel anything approaching normal again.

    To JD: I don't feel you have anything to apologize for. Holding all that inside when you found a place to release would have been detrimental to your own well-being!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • ||

    Its not a simple case and needs more investigations

  • JD||

    I want to apologize to everyone on this board for the emotional outburst that I dumped on you guys. I'm not even a regular on this board, and it was not appropriate for me to unload like I did.

    I've avoided thinking about my own case for several years now. So much so, that I did not realize that I was still very much stuck in deep depression. I thought that being acquitted would change that, but it hasn't. Tonya's case just brought it all back home to me, and I basically just unloaded on the first place I could find that was having an open discussion on it.

    A lot of you have been very supportive of Tonya, and that is a refreshing thing to see. I know that just the accusation of this crime can cause people to judge someone as guilty without any facts.

    Anyway, again... I just wanted to apologize. I was out of line.

  • Rob||

    I found your comments to be insightful and interesting. I don't think they were at all bad/obnoxious/annoying/whatever. You went through hell, mate. You're allowed to be a little jacked after that. No apologies necessary.

  • ||

    JD~Forgiveness is divine. You can either chose to move forward or remain in the nightmare that you obviously endured. I don't doubt your pain. Actually, I don't feel that Tonya's life is ruined. Her path has definitely changed. I feel that she has big plans to help those who are falsely accused, as well, the accused are held accountable for their actions.

    She will rise above all who literally threw her under the bus. We haven't heard the last of Tonya. What a superb woman to be the advocate for those falsely accused.

    The choice that I made in my life was to become a survivor, not a victim. My situation was gut-wrenching. My foundation is solid. I believe in myself. JD~ there is another path for you in life. You are possibly at the fork in the road. A choice~I chose the path of a survivor.
    JD~I hope that I have not made light of your hell on Earth. Don't you feel that you could make a difference in the lives of others? Hopefully, you will respond. I do care~I truly do care. My intent is one of understanding, compassion, love, and empathy.

  • ||

    How many others in Catoosa County been wrongfully accused and convicted?? This isnt a speeding ticket, this is basically a death sentence..loss of kids,job,home,family..If this was some guy u kno good and well even with the help of good lawyers prosecution would convict and we wouldnt even be talkin about this.

  • ||

    How about witch hunts against men?? If she had been a man... he would be in prison!!!

  • ||

    I agree with you. There needs to be more investigations. There are three sides to every story. Their side, our side and the facts.

  • ||

    My son and I just finished a trail that accused us of kidnapping, rape, molestation and incest.
    We were on trial for two weeks and my son was acquitted on a technicality and that means the prosecutor could file an appeal. My son went to prison for eight months and the federal prosecuting attorney dismissed the case. We are native americans and our Tribal court brought it back to tribal court. My case went to trial and the jury after deliberating for one hour found me not guilty. I am 74 years old and had to finance my house to pay for my attorney. Would like to get in touch with Tonya Craft, as I have heard she is getting a group together to make the public away of the injustice of false accusations by some pretty crazy people.

  • ||

    Few know/care that these laws are not protecting children one whit more. But they have hurt many men who aren't dangerous.The hysteria feeds false accusations. My son Ken's story is one.But I've learned there are too many more.I've worked years in Child Protective Services on child sexual abuse cases&theres; another side to these stories. Because of a few heinous sex abuse cases by strangers, the laws now have MOSTLY men who are on the registries who aren't dangerous, &especially; not to children. Few people believe a child would lie about sex. But, I saw cases of belligerent teens who lied to get back at a father or stepfather. And,an eight-year old girl lied about my mentally ill son. When she lied, this was suggested to her&encouraged; by two adult women who did not like my son's looks or personality. Because of his illness, he was too friendly, too trusting w/people, he did not take care of his teeth& he had very bad acne. When this child lied, everyone listened. Now she has grown up,recanted, but few listen. She ended up giving a very strong deposition. This had much in it about how her grandmother & a nosy neighborhood watchperson gave her the idea because they didn't like my son's looks (he had very bad acne and teeth .Ken was/is phobic about dentists&had; severe acne Marian grew up in a family/neighborhood filled w/prostitution and drugs. She had 3 criminal uncles living with her. Her older sister, who my naive son was in love with, was a prostitute and drug addict. This girls' mother was a prostitute/ drug addict.(now both dead of o'd's) Lying was a way of life in this girls' family/neighborhood.People bragged about putting people away by lying.In her deposition, Marian talked about trying to think about ways to get my son away from her sister; she was so jealous that he took this sister, who she was very close to, away from her.She said, her grandmother &the; other woman gave her the idea.She said if anyone ever asked her to take a lie detector test, she would;vetold the truth.She was scared of going to court. Ken’s lawyer,knew my son's looks would hurt him made him believe that an Alford plea was his only option. The states' attorney said my son looked "wierd"too &he; was so aggressive in going after my son that Ken’s first atty.said that she thought he “hates your son”. So, an attractive but lying child looked innocent &an; unattractive but innocent man took a plea because it seemed there was no choice. Everyone listened when the girl lied.Few care now that she is finally telling the truth. My son has always been a gentle, good person who was taken advantage of by others because of his naiveté’ about people. http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=1492212 help us change the laws: http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/

  • concerned||

    that entire region to include TN is simply so corrupted as to be back in 1880 Reconstruction. There is NO recourse for what goes, on, Craft was luck to get good team. The "Region"media is a sorry joke on good day, and march's in lock step with local corruption.
    Horrors, and I mean exactly that, more like terrorist cleansing going on, routinely families driven out,homes torched, beating and legal-law so dirty they simply operate in open. Rumors abound FED up to neck in it as they use SE TN for dumping and "hiding" various criminals, etc.
    Yet no one does a thing, media will not get involved and "good ole boy red state corruption and violence go on and on
    Ms Craft was lucky, but worse is a way of life in region. Yet none will even investigate, wonder why?

  • 篮球鞋||

    I like it very much, thank you
    custom jerseys
    cheap custom jerseys

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement