published Friday, April 16th, 2010

Nurse who examined three alleged molestation victims testifies

View previous stories and videos

PDF: Craft order

Video: Tonya Craft on Nightline, June 2, 2010

Video: Tonya Craft interview with Good Morning America, June 2, 2010

PDF: Tonya Craft files a $25 million lawsuit against her accusers

PDF: Complaint by Eric Echols

PDF: Complaint by Sandra Lamb

PDF: Orders on Rule 22 Request for Media Coverage

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Article: Pushing state to investigate

Article: Attorney questions Craigslist investigations

Article: Prosecutor introduces claim of Craft affair

Article: Witness: Mother of alleged victim made threat

Article: Craft trial entering third week

Article: Parents of child testify in Craft molestation trial

Article: Lead investigator testifies he didn't interview fathers

Article: Second forensic interviewer testifies in molestation trial

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Article: Mother of alleged molestation victim testifies

Article: Second week of craft trial begins

Article: 2 more children testify in Craft trial

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Article: Nurse who examined three alleged molestation victims testifies

Article: Juror dismissed in Craft trial

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Article: Child molestation cases stirring emotions

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PDF: Tonya Craft’s defense attorney’s request for the judge to be dismissed from the case

Article: Attorney for Craft asks judge for recusal

Article: Molestation case leads to emotional divisions

Article: Molestation trial moved to April

PDF: Tonya Craft's indictment

RINGGOLD, Ga. — A nurse testified Thursday that two of three children alleged to be victims of child molestation by a former kindergarten teacher showed signs of abuse.

Sexual assault nurse examiner Sharon Anderson said when she took the stand in the Catoosa County Superior Court trial of Tonya Craft that two of the girls showed “suspicious” physical signs “that were consistent with sexual abuse.”

Ms. Anderson was the first expert witness in the trial of Ms. Craft, a former Chickamauga Elementary School teacher charged with 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation. Three children allegedly were involved.

Asked by one of Ms. Craft’s defense attorneys how she knew the children were sexually abused, Ms. Anderson said she did not know for certain that it was sexual abuse. But she said the report showed physical abnormalities in two of the girls and was based on specific characteristics seen during a medical examination.

“I make my decision on experience and what we consider normal,” she testified.

The jury was shown graphic photos of the girls, and Ms. Anderson gave details on what she saw that made her conclude that they had physical abnormalities. Some of the jurors appeared shocked by the photos.

While the third girl did not show signs of sexual abuse, that does not mean it didn’t happen, Ms. Anderson said. The report can’t prove or disprove the allegations, she said.

Each side spent the afternoon questioning Ms. Anderson and the doctor who signed her paperwork, S.J. Carmichael.

Dr. Carmichael told defense attorney Demosthenes Lorandos that, in general, she weighed the history of a patient’s past when making a diagnosis.

But later, asked by Mr. Lorandos if she knew about the history of diarrhea in one of the alleged victims, she said she was unaware of it.

The expert witnesses testified after the first alleged victim was cross-examined all morning.

Mr. Lorandos spent several hours showing taped interviews to that child. Each of the five interviews showed the child talking with crisis center counselors about Ms. Craft.

When Mr. Lorandos asked her why she didn’t say in the first three taped interviews that Ms. Craft had abused her, her response was short.

“I just remembered,” she said.

Throughout the girl’s questioning, Ms. Craft wiped tears from her eyes with a tissue.

Mr. Lorandos continued to start and stop each video and ask what the child was thinking at that point in the interview. Each time she responded, “I don’t know.”

In a taped interview one year after the first four interviews, the child described in graphic detail how Ms. Craft abused her. In that video, the child remained calm and collected.

When Mr. Lorandos asked her if she had been upset talking about the abuse, she said “no.”

Also in an early video, the child told a social worker that she knew about the two other children who allegedly were molested by Ms. Craft. But in the last taped interview, when asked how she knew about the other girls, the child said, “My mommy told me.”

When Mr. Lorandos questioned her about that response, she agreed with her earlier answer.

After the child was dismissed from the courtroom, members of the public were allowed back in the room.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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kbp said...

I'll certainly commend you for the improvement over your last article, as a result of following the first paragraph, which states;

"A nurse testified here this afternoon that two of three children alleged to be victims of child molestation by a former kindergarten teacher showed signs of abuse",

with the second paragraph, which informs us that;

"Sharon Anderson said when she took the stand in the Catoosa County Superior Court trial of Tonya Craft that two of the girls showed “suspicious” physical signs “that were consistent with sexual abuse',

youve provided the qualification - "consistent with" - that reduces the inaccuracy of in the total message conveyed in your interpretation of her testimony, but it is still clouded with opinion putting a spin on what was actually testified to today.

Again, as I'd commented in your previous article, the proper method for identifying the defense attorney by name is for "Dr." to always precede his name, as it is a professional title earned through years of hard work in obtaining the education and professionalism it represents. To leave that title absent from the identification of the gentleman involved here reflects upon the one reporting, as any reader aware of his title will quickly judge the reporting to be very unprofessional.

While it is rather disappointing to see the result of reports that leave out so much, as this one has, it goes much further when one spins the news with fabricated reporting missing so many facts very relevant to the case.

I hope to see better from you as the trial proceeds, for OUR reports will simply be to show the inaccuracies of those claiming to be reporters and I sense you start every article with good intentions. Most always hope that the truth will prevail.

April 16, 2010 at 1:02 a.m.
ctfpfan08 said...

I think it's funny that you think anyone at the paper actually reads these comments...

April 16, 2010 at 10:08 a.m.

ctfpfan08 is right. You need to email Mr. Griscom directly in order to get any notice. His email can be found on this website.

April 16, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.
princehal said...

Geez, kbp. Are you mad because she got a job at the paper and you didn't?

April 16, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.
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