Craft ex not opposed to more visitation

Craft ex not opposed to more visitation

May 14th, 2010 by Adam Crisp in News

The father of Tonya Craft's two children is opposing her receiving full custody but appears open to some visitation, according to court records.

Documents filed by Joal Henke's lawyers Thursday morning say that he's concerned that removing the children from his care would upset the home that's provided a stable life for both children for two years.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Tonya Craft speaks to the media in her parents' East Ridge home Tuesday after a jury found her innocent on 22 counts of child molestation.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press...

"There has been significant change in the circumstances since the initial parenting plan was executed," wrote Charles Dupree, Mr. Henke's attorney, in the court papers. "In that in two years, the children ... have prospered and developed educationally, spiritually and physically, and they have developed a full and well nurturing environment."

On Tuesday, Ms. Craft was found not guilty on 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery after a five-week trial in Catoosa County. The jury acquitted Mrs. Craft, a 37-year-old former kindergarten teacher, after 10 hours of deliberation.

On Wednesday, Ms. Craft asked Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams to immediately expand her visitation rights with both children. She asked the judge to remove supervision restrictions with her 11-year-old son and allow some visitation with her 8-year-old daughter.

Beyond that, Ms. Craft asked the court to schedule a hearing in which she would request the children to return to her care full-time.

As of Thursday, there was no apparent court date to resolve the custody matter.

In 2004, Ms. Craft, following the couple's divorce, was granted full custody. In June 2008, when the criminal charges against her surfaced, Mr. Henke requested in court and received full custody of the children. Since then, Ms. Craft has had supervised visitation with her son and no contact with her daughter.

Ms. Craft, on a national media tour this week, disclosed that her daughter was one of the three girls she was accused of molesting.

During her criminal trial and in court documents filed this week, Ms. Craft alleged that Mr. Henke and his new wife are partially responsible for the girls falsely believing they were molested.

"Several experts that have reviewed this situation ... (and) believe (Mr. Henke) and his wife have manipulated, influenced and/or alienated the children's affection toward (Ms. Craft) through the use of negative comments," wrote attorney Clancy Covert, Mrs. Craft's attorney, in the court documents filed over her visitation rights. Ms. Craft is "gravely concerned for the safety" of the children, the documents state.

Mr. Henke, in his four-page filing, asks that he be named "primary residential parent subject to the shared parenting time allotted to (Ms. Craft)."

TEASE

SUNDAY: How did Tonya Craft end up in a courtroom, charged with child molestation?

The couple for years has had bad blood, court documents show. There are three large files on their ongoing custody disputes in the Hamilton Circuit Court Clerk's office.

The files show typical shared-custody disputes such as not dropping off the children on time or not allowing phone calls between the children and parents.

Recent court filings have focused on Ms. Craft's ongoing legal troubles, including numerous files and documents sealed from public view.

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