published Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Detective: Craft reported young girl's stepmother

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 Walker County Sheriff's Office detective testified Wednesday she had looked into an allegation involving the stepmother of an alleged victim in the Tonya Craft trial in 2008.

Detective Caroline Cobb, a defense witness, testified that Ms. Craft had told Sheriff Steve Wilson about allegations involving the third alleged victim and her stepmother.

Ms. Craft, a former Chickamauga Elementary teacher, is charged with 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation. The charges involve three children.

Flipping through her notebook to find the correct date, Detective Cobb said the sheriff called her on April 3, 2008, "and asks me if I would call and talk to Tonya."

Ms. Craft reported that the child, then 6, had confided that her stepmother had acted inappropriately, including taking showers with the child and shaving her own genital area in the child's presence, Detective Cobb said.

She turned the case over to the Department of Human Services and the Hamilton County Sheriff's office because the alleged incidents occurred in Tennessee. The Walker County Sheriff's Office didn't substantiate the case, Detective Cobb said.

"Did they find she wasn't doing it?" defense attorney Scott King asked.

  • photo
    Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free Press - The Catoosa County Courthouse in Ringgold is the scene of the trial of Tonya Craft.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Arnt objected, saying Detective Cobb did not file that report. Superior Court Judge Brian House upheld the objection.

The stepmother testified in the second week of the trial that the two showered together because the child needed help bathing. She said she didn't shave with the child in the shower.

The stepmother also testified she didn't know about Ms. Craft's allegations until May 2008, when she found out Ms. Craft was being investigated.

During cross-examination, Mr. Arnt asked Detective Cobb, a forensic interviewer for the Walker County Sheriff's Office, about the credibility of several of his prior witnesses.

Detective Cobb said she had worked with all the Children's Advocacy Center interviewers who talked with the three children in the Craft case. She said she trusted them with her cases.

Other defenses witnesses Wednesday were current or former Chickamauga Elementary School employees who testified Ms. Craft had a good relationship with the three children at school.

In cross-examination, prosecutors pointed out that most of the witnesses never has seen Ms. Craft interact with the children at her home, only at school.

Former first-grade teacher Kim Parvin said she taught the first alleged victim in 2006-07 and the second alleged victim in 2008-09.

Ms. Parvin told the jury that her pupils were required to keep a journal. The first child was very personal and wrote down her feelings but never mentioned Ms. Craft, she said.

The second child was shy at first, Ms. Parvin said, and had a hard time keeping up with her studies. Ms. Parvin said she knew the girl was in counseling for part of the year.

The child's behavior and schoolwork improved after counseling, she said.

In cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Len Gregor pointed out that just because Ms. Parvin didn't see anything suspicious with the girls and Ms. Craft doesn't mean it didn't happen.

She agreed.

Follow the trial on our twitter page.

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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kittymeow said...

This trial is an outrage to our justice system! This is an obvious witch hunt by a few bitter mothers with some vendetta against Ms. Craft. Any mother who would badger their child after 3 days to admit some abuse should be put on trial. Anyone supporting these ridiculous accusations against this woman may change their tune once the national media shows up to expose this farce!

April 29, 2010 at 12:11 a.m.
BOOBOO99 said...

The Verdict will be GUILTY!!!!! This molester will be in jail for most of her life...3 girls got life sentences though they will have to live with the memory of abuse by Tonya Craft..Its ashame that a teacher would do this to these girls.The Judge is doing great job getting all the facts in the case.

April 29, 2010 at 9:06 a.m.
enufisenuf said...

BOOB BOOB, are you sleeping with the judge or prosecution, individually or collectivly, cause that is the only poossible reason for your blatent, ignorant stand. Lets hope for the sake of justice the jury is smarter than you and sees the miscarriage of justice by the judge and the prosecution. Maybe then we can have a cup of coffee so I can see if you look as stupid as you sound. Righr or wrong, this trial is a terrible joke and waste of taxpayers dollars. Friday morning, everyone should clog Ringgold with cars , bikes, signsm anything to protest the sham being perpetrated in the name of justice. If the legal system is so sure they are doing a good job, get rid of the security check in the courthouse, if their right what do they have to fear?

April 29, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.
BOOBOO99 said...

ENUFISENUF, I can see you are on Tonya Craft side of things, You must dont care about the children and families in this case..Are you a close friend of Tonya Craft?? Are you her Lover?? or do you approve of Tonya Craft molesting these girls, if You do You are a sicko like Tonya.. I dont think its a waste of taxpayers dollars to get justice for these 3 girls that got brutally molested by Tonya Craft. Please think about the girls instead of your friend Tonya craft.

April 29, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.
dao1980 said...

If anyone cared about the wellbeing of the children, they would not put them through this much selfish "justice." When I think about the terrible experience of being molested, my mind also goes immediately to the terrible experiance of being re-molested many more times by athority figures trying to prove the first trespass. To the victim, it dosent matter if the perpotrator is getting off on the act, or is doing his or her "job," the actions are the same, and no less humiliating. This whole thing is about selfish adults crying for percieved closure.. or "justice." Poor poor children, my heart goes out to them.

April 29, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.
Humphrey said...

wow. Just wow. Talk about ad hominem attacks. Talk about a witch hunt. BooBoo99 argues by casting aspersions and calling names. Wasn't this the kind of classic technique in The Crucible - if someone doesn't jump on the accused, they must be guilty as well.

It is very weak form of argument and a logical fallacy, but it can be effective in stirring people up over something that is very emotionally charged.

April 29, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.
FreedomLover said...

I am very much familiar with the Catoosa County Magistrate’s Office and have known the Magistrate for more than 20yrs. And also some of the assistant Magistrates, I don’t know Tonya Craft but I would bet my life this woman is as innocent as Jesus Christ was, and sad to say may suffer a similar injustice.

The Problem with Catoosa County is the Magistrate’s Office, it is completely run by past career Law enforcement with a cop mentality and there is no possible way they can be totally unbiased as they should be, the only thing the public has between them and Police abuse of power is a Magistrate because he is the one who writes the warrant’s, and a warrant should never be written until an affidavit is submitted and reviewed by the Magistrate to see if it complies with the Law as outlined in the Constitution of the United States and then oath taken from the applicant, but unfortunately law enforcement personnel are exempt from that procedure in Catoosa County, they are issued pretty much on demand to Law enforcement.

In my opinion this Craft trial should have never happened, it should have been stopped at the Magistrates Office.

April 29, 2010 at 10:31 a.m.
TNborn said...

Ringgold should be proud of itself - it's on national TV - WOW!!! We can only pray that the jurors are smarter and less 'reactive' than the judge/prosecutors. Being a juror is a huge honor and opportunity to serve in support of your community values. I hope that this pool of jurors consider the weight they are carrying - sometimes only the jury can rescue the true 'victim' in a case....

April 29, 2010 at 11:44 a.m.
whatajoke said...

This trial is a joke, seriously. It is sad that these people are making such a joke out of something so horrible. This witch hunt is pretty pathetic and these people should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

I can't say for certain if this woman is innocent or guilty, but from how the trial IS going even if she is INNOCENT they're going to make her guilty, because of some stupid vendetta these people have against her.

It's a mockery.

April 29, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.
bcook said...

This is just more proof our schools in the south are not up to national standards. Ignorance and stupidity are the cause of most of the problems in the world today. This poor lady should be given a million dollars for what the school board and the lack of justice system of The Great town of Ranggold have put her through. Please... It was mis-handled from the start. It makes me mad because I am from the south, bunch of in-bred rednecks and good ole boys. You need to go back to school and learn something that will bring equality and honor to your community, instead of your moment of redneck glory. Stupid...

April 29, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.
enufisenuf said...

Boob, you should just shut up, everytime you post, you look even more stupid. The facts and actions of the judge and district attorney are the only criminal acts here. I don't know Tonya, but I know a witch hunt when I see one. I also know an idiot when I read what your post. Boob, the only one not thinking or seeing what is really going on is you. I believe the judge and DA know exactly what they are doing, their just to egotistical and arrogant to care.

April 29, 2010 at 5:24 p.m.

I think the prosecution and the accusing mothers must know they have reached a point of no return, and have shamed the community, and made a mockery of the ridiculous judicial system. They seem to be just digging deeper in their hole, attempting to make it appear as though they had a case, to cover up the mistakes made in the whole damn process...

From the accusing mothers (who didn't think of the repercussions they would face from using their children to destroy the life of an innocent woman), to the detectives, child advocacy center, the DA and his unprofessional assistant, all the way to the unfair and biased judge who has lost the respect of all. Have the mothers considered that most can see right through their wicked intentions, other than BOOBOO? Sure the whole community stands behind Tonya Craft 100%, but also, abusing their kids by putting them through this? Are they regretful of their initial intentions yet?

Tonya Craft is fighting for her life!! I hope she goes after them all to get justice for the life they have already taken from her!! They took her poor kids away from their mom - how could they do that to those kids? They did nothing wrong yet lost their mom one unexpected day 2 years ago... BECAUSE OF HEARSAY - NO PROOF OF THE ALLEGATIONS!! STILL NO PROOF OF THE ALLEGATIONS FROM THE PROSECUTION!!

Looking forward to hearing the verdict, and seeing true justice take place. Looking forward to seeing Tonya Craft live free of this garbage, and having a better future than she had before. Looking forward to her own children having their mother back, and moving forward with their lives.

And I hope the 3 little victims that have been dragged through this conspiracy, can be protected from the harvest that is coming no doubt... from the mothers reaping what they have sown.

April 29, 2010 at 7:08 p.m.
InspectorBucket said...

Yes. There you have it. I would turn the questioning whether or not these "charges" are about the adults getting back at other adults--a vendetta--a TIT for T-AT--if you will.

What foolishness, passing naive children back-and-forth like tactical pawns, and what a shame that in the future legitimate cases could be obscured.

Perhaps only the most imperceptive students of Human Nature would still believe that either the Defendant or her Accusers are 100% impeccable and unimpeachable. I would pursue just how long these little games of "gotcha" and smearing have been going on.

What immaturity.

April 29, 2010 at 10:20 p.m.
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