Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice, & the Strength to Forgive, by Tonya Craft with Mark Dagostina, BenBella Books, 2015, 348 pages, Hardback.
To give a brief synopsis of Accused, Catoosa County, Georgia, authorities in 2008 charged Tonya Craft, then a kindergarten teacher, of 22 counts of child molestation, with the three accusing children being two daughters of former friends, along with her own daughter. Not surprisingly, she lost her job, her two children, her home, and was vilified in the local media.
Craft endured a five-week trial in April and May of 2010, and in the end, the jurors declared her not guilty. The trial itself was a farce, a spectacle that one had to follow closely to believe. The judge permitted the two prosecutors to run the proceedings and acted as a third arm of the prosecution, openly declaring his disdain for the defense. However, despite all efforts to rig the trial, the jury gave its pronouncement and the two prosecutors literally ran from the courthouse to their vehicles, one of them covering his face with a notebook. As the title of this article states, you really cannot make up this stuff.
In the aftermath of the not-guilty verdict, Craft regained custody of her children (sharing joint custody with her ex-husband, one of the ringleaders of the false charges), began law school, and forgave her adversaries. The three accusers, including her daughter, recanted their charges and most of the players on the prosecution side admitted at one time or another that they knew Craft was innocent. Much of the book deals with the months and years following the trial and is worth the read. That Tonya Craft openly and willingly forgave her accusers is testament to her own deep Christian faith.
Although Craft’s ordeal officially began in 2008, it really started in 1974 with the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, better known as the Mondale Act. Written to deal with what Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota was a “growing epidemic” of child physical and sexual abuse, the new federal law promised millions of dollars to states and localities to prosecute accused child abusers and to create and empower agencies like Children’s Protective Services that had the authority to remove children from homes where they were allegedly being abused.
The law also had one important string tied to disbursement of federal money: state law no longer could require corroborating evidence in order to convict someone of child abuse or forms of child sexual abuse, molestation, and sexual assault. Instead, an accusation by itself was all that was needed for someone to be convicted. This turned the entire premise of “innocent until proven guilty” on its head, forcing the defendant to do the impossible: prove a negative. Like so many other federal laws created to “solve” crises that perhaps were not crises in the first place, the Mondale Act was soon found to have numerous perverse incentives, and those incentives led to events that would had appalling consequences in the lives of innocent people.
This is merely an excerpt from the original article. I sincerely hope all will read the entire article at: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/09/william-l-anderson/never-trust-a-prosecutor-2/