published Monday, April 19th, 2010

Second week of craft trial begins

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

Article: Craft custody attempt hits snag

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

Article: Witness testimony recounted off camera

Article: Mother of alleged molestation victim testifies

Article: Second week of craft trial begins

Article: 2 more children testify in Craft trial

Article: First child testifies in molestation case

Article: Nurse who examined three alleged molestation victims testifies

Article: Juror dismissed in Craft trial

Article: Craft was framed, lawyer says

Article: Large jury pool in Craft trial, no jury selected

Article: Child molestation cases stirring emotions

Article: Refusal to recuse stirs legal debate

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. -- Prosecutors today will continue building their case against a former kindergarten teacher charged with child molestation.

Tonya Craft's trial began April 12 in Catoosa Superior Court. Most of the first week was spent with both sides questioning the three girls young girls who all testified Tonya Craft had inappropriately touched them.

Prosecutors spent about 10 minutes with each child, asking for specifics of when and how the alleged molestation occurred. All three girls said the alleged incidents happened at Ms. Craft's home and gave one example of how it happened. The girls could not give clear testimony whether they had seen Ms. Craft act inappropriately with other girls.

In cross-examination, defense attorney Demosthenes Lorandos confronted each girl on why they said different things at the trial than they told investigators in earlier, taped interviews.

"I just remembered" or "I don't know" was the common response from the girls.

Ms. Craft is a former Chickamauga Elementary School kindergarten teacher who is charged with 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation.

The public was excluded from the courtroom when the girls testified but was allowed in for testimony by medical experts who examined the alleged victims. The seats were filled with supporters of Ms. Craft and of the children.

Sharon Anderson, a sexual assault nurse examiner, showed the jury graphic pictures explaining two of the girls showed "suspicious" signs that were consistent with sexual abuse.

When questioned by a defense attorney, Ms. Anderson conceded the signs did not prove sexual abuse. But she said the report showed physical abnormalities in two girls and was made based on certain characteristics after medical examination.

"I make my decision on experience and what we consider normal," she said.

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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