published Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Witness: Mother of alleged victim made threat

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. -- A witness in a child molestation trial said she felt threatened by one of the alleged victim's parents to bring charges forward about her own daughter.

Kim Walker testified Monday that she received several phone calls from the mother of the first alleged victim, who told her she needed to continue questioning her own daughter about an alleged incident with former Chickamauga Elementary School teacher Tonya Craft.

Ms. Walker testified that, when she told the mother that her daughter had said Ms. Craft had not touched her and that she would not have her daughter interviewed again, the woman became angry.

"It's almost like she wanted something to happen," Ms. Walker said.

Ms. Craft, a former kindergarten teacher, is charged with 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation. The charges are against three children.

After the state rested its case early Monday afternoon in Catoosa County Superior Court, Ms. Walker spent the rest of the day on the stand as the defense's first witness.

Before Ms. Walker was called, defense attorney Scott King asked that Ms. Craft be acquitted on 16 counts -- 11 counts for insufficient evidence and five counts in which the timeframe on court documents filed by the prosecution didn't match the witnesses' testimony.

Superior Court Judge Brian House refused to acquit her, saying he believed there is sufficient evidence on all the charges.

Several parts of Ms. Walker's testimony conflicted with the testimony of two of the alleged victims' mothers and with witness Sherry Wilson. One conflicting story involved a pool party on May 23, 2008, at Mrs. Wilson's house.

The prosecution's witnesses cite the pool party as the day that led to the allegations against Ms. Craft. Mrs. Wilson testified that at the party she questioned a child about inappropriate words that the girl had written in chalk on the sidewalk.

The child told Mrs. Wilson about a child-on-child sexual incident between some of the girls when they played the "boyfriend-girlfriend game," Mrs. Wilson testified.

The mother of the first alleged victim testified that she questioned her daughter, who was present at the party, and asked if anyone had touched her. It was then that her daughter disclosed details about Ms. Craft touching her, the mother testified earlier in the trial.

On Monday, Ms. Walker testified that she received a call from the same mother several days after the pool party. The mother said she thought Ms. Craft "was crazy."

The mother then told Ms. Walker that she had questioned her own daughter for three days before she admitted that Ms. Craft had touched her, Ms. Walker testified.

Early Monday, Ms. Craft's defense also showed evidence that one of the state's social workers had social connections with the prosecutors before the trial began.

Holly Kittle, who in April 2009 interviewed the daughter of the mother who'd called Ms. Walker, was asked by defense attorney Demosthenes Lorandos about a Facebook statement made by one of the prosecutors that she had "liked" on Jan. 10.

Ms. Kittle admitted that she pushed the "like" button on Catoosa County Assistant District Attorney Chris Arnt's statement, which said: "Chris Arnt is wondering if Tonya Craft's defense lawyers are really insane (or) just trying to jack up her defense bill."

Trying to explain, Ms. Kittle said she had agreed with the statement because she never had seen a case like this one.

Mr. Lorandos replied that neither had he.

Follow the trial on twitter.com/timesfreepress

WHAT'S NEXT

The defense will call its next witness this morning.

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 ...

2
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
hcirehttae said...

Holly Kittle, who in April 2009 interviewed the daughter of the mother who'd called Ms. Walker, was asked by defense attorney Demosthenes Lorandos about a Facebook statement made by one of the prosecutors that she had "liked" on Jan. 10. Ms. Kittle admitted that she pushed the "like" button on Catoosa County Assistant District Attorney Chris Arnt's statement, which said: "Chris Arnt is wondering if Tonya Craft's defense lawyers are really insane (or) just trying to jack up her defense bill." Trying to explain, Ms. Kittle said she had agreed with the statement because she never had seen a case like this one.


Is this not extremely unprofessional behavior by these court officers, to place such a comment on Facebook? What good were they thinking would come of that?

April 27, 2010 at 1:51 p.m.
inv said...

I completely agree with you hcirehttae. That was very unprofessional behavior. I wonder if the gag order was in-place at that time. Isn't that the very reason the prosecution asked for the gag order?

April 27, 2010 at 7:24 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.