Tonya Craft memoir set for Sept. 1 release

Tonya Craft speaks to students at Dalton State College Wednesday evening.

A memoir by a former North Georgia kindergarten teacher wrongly accused of molesting small children is scheduled to come out next month.

Tonya Craft, who taught at Chickamauga Elementary School, was acquitted in 2010 on charges of molesting three girls, including her daughter. Craft's trial turned Ringgold, Ga., into a national news stage. She appeared on "The Today Show" and "Larry King Live" soon after the jury found her not guilty.

Craft said after the trial she would dedicate her life to helping the falsely accused, and has since enrolled at the Nashville School of Law.

photo Tonya Craft book cover

Her book will be available Sept. 1. Barnes & Noble at Hamilton Place will host a launch party four days later at 2 p.m.

Craft worked on her memoir with Mark Dagostino, a celebrity journalist who has written books with Gavin MacLeod, Hulk Hogan and the former college football player who inspired the film "Rudy."

The book begins with Craft at her home in May 2008, when she said Catoosa County Detectives Tim Deal and Stephen Keith (now a Catoosa County magistrate) informed her she had been accused of molesting children.

Craft said she first thought the detectives were talking about an incident a couple of years earlier, when supposedly her daughter and another child were caught touching each other.

"I've taken care of that," Craft said she responded.

"You've taken care of touching kids?" she said Deal replied.

"I - what? What do you mean?" she asked.

Craft said she drew on court documents, videotaped proceedings, transcripts, taped conversations and media coverage to recreate events. She also relied heavily on her memory and that of friends and family to recreate events outside the courtroom.

"What you're about to read is my story, told from my point of view," she wrote in the author's note. "Some of the details in these pages are quite graphic in nature - not by choice, but because they represent the truth."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6476.