Today, the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog sets its sight a bit further south. We look to Georgia and the case of Tonya Craft, the former kindergarten teacher who was charged with 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation. Her daughter along with the other three young accusers testified for the prosecution.
On Tuesday, the jury came back with the verdict of “Not Guilty”.
Hey, great, right? Justice was done and so it is big victory for Ms. Craft, yes?
Well, not so much. You see, win or lose, one’s life is forever altered when such allegations come..
Craft describes that there are no winners in this type of situation. Her career is finished and she remains separated from her children who were taken away because of the allegations. There is also the matter of legal bills, stress on her family and supporters, not to mention stress on herself.
Not bad for a system that presumes innocence in a case where the person, at the end of the trial, remained so, huh?
“It’s not about my story, it’s about the kids’ stories and what they go through in this,” Craft told reporters at a press conference Tuesday in Catoosa County, Ga. She said that now her focus will be “other people who are falsely accused. And I’ll do anything I can to help protect them and to help protect the children of the falsely accused.”
Craft emphasized that her three accusers were as much victims of the past two years as she was, just not in the way that some people thought. Craft and her lawyers say the children, including her own daughter, were manipulated into making the allegations against Craft by mothers with whom she had had a falling out, according to an interview with “The Today Show” on Wednesday.
Craft says that the trouble began when two little girls were caught touching each other. Craft said that their outraged mothers punished the girls and demanded to know how they learned about touching each other. Under questioning, during which Craft says the mothers suggested her name to the girls, the girls eventually told the story about being touched by Craft at several slumber parties at her house, located in the northwest corner of the state, between Aug. 2005 and May 2007, according to the morning program.
One of Craft’s attorneys explained further that those flames were fanned by a judicial system that was quick to condemn Craft. He added that his client has had to endure a lot at the hands of a “corrupt judicial process.”
“Sloppy interviews…ridiculous last minute falsified fraudulent evidence, [and] terrible interviews of children,” He told reporters. “[Craft] endured it all. She will continue to endure it all.”
Many questions have been raised about the fairness of the trial and, in fact, federal prosecutors may be looking into the procedures.
I grew up in a funny and strange world.
I was told that the criminal justice system was about finding the truth…from start to finish. In other words, when criminal investigations were performed, it was to find the real truth, not simply facts that can be arranged to fit an assumed truth.
I believed that conspiracies were only performed by the bad guys.
I also believed that the system’s participants understood the severity of their actions and how they effected people…particularly people in power. People like prosecutors, police officers and judges were always professional in their fighting “the good fight”.
Contrast that with this case wherein the prosecutor posted on his Facebook page in January that Craft’s defense lawyers “are really insane or just trying to jack up her defense bill.”
Well, maybe it is a requirement down south that potential jurors are not allowed to access Facebook.
In any event, it was supposed to be those lousy criminal defense attorneys who were the problem with the system…right?
Imagine my surprise throughout the last 25 years when I have practiced in a little town I call
The reality is that, for a variety of reasons, the world in which I grew up cannot be relied upon to exist anymore. All officers and prosecutors? No. But too many.
This is why, if you smell the scent in the wind of a possible investigation into you or a loved one, you need to treat it seriously. To simply shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, I did nothing wrong, so they cannot bring against a case against me” is fool-hardy.
You want an experienced criminal defense attorney involved as soon as possible before more damage can be done. The lawyer can advise and, if necessary, represent you.
If you are in such a situation and wish to discuss it with me, please feel free to contact me at (617) 206-1942.
NOTE: Last evening, on Fox25, a story appeared in which I was interviewed on the 10:00pm news. It was about bullying. If you missed it and are interested, the interview, text and video, can be found here.
To view the original stories upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://www.timesnewsline.com/news/Kindergarten-Teacher–Tonya-Craft–Accused-of-Molesting-Children-1273712004/ and http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20004832-504083.html