The trial of Tonya Craft did not take place in Texas; but I wanted to talk about it to give you a clear example of children being manipulated in order to put an innocent person in jail. In Craft's case, it was a failure. She was aquitted, and allowed to pick up the pieces of her life and go on.
In 2012 Craft, a school teacher, faced 22 charges of molestation, aggravated molestation and sexual battery. 22. That is a shit-load of lawbreaking, and for a prosecutor to bring that kind of hell down on a person you would hope that they had a better story than “Well, we're all pretty sure it might have happened.”
Nope. This case was one long, drawn-out hatchet job from the beginning, and included, according to Popehat.com's excellent summary:
...misconduct included suppression of exculpatory evidence, subornation of perjury, harassment of witnesses, open appeals to racism and sexism, unprofessional attacks on the defense team (and, really, on the entire concept of a defendant being entitled to a defense), unprofessional public statements about the case (like the Facebook post you see below, upon which friendly potential trial witnesses commented), breathtaking closing argument abuse, and a list of other conduct too disgusting and lengthy to set forth here.
The rest of these quotes are from various articles and blogs around the web, linked below.
One child, during an interview, said nothing about an assault, even after being asked leading questions and pestered “Is there anything else?” 16 times. Then, the camera was shut off and she miraculously recalled that she had, in fact, been molested.
The interviewer in this case, Holly Kittle, was just another shining star of incompetence in this circus:
Holly Kittle, a forensic interviewer from the Fort Oglethorpe Children’s Advocacy Center, on Monday morning took the stand to discuss her interview with the first alleged victim to testify. As with the previous interviewers she was unsure or simply did not know many of the research references regarding child interview techniques as posed to her by the defense.
This woman lost her job, her home, and custody of her daughter, missing two years of that little girl's life on nothing more than the word of people like Kittle.
...The inconsistencies, the memory failures, the interviewers' refusal to take no for an answer, and the accounts that steadily evolve under the persistent questioning all suggest this girl was encouraged to remember things that did not happen. So does the weird equivalence between a horrifying crime and infractions such as limiting TV time, supplying unattractive pajamas, and taking away toys at bedtime.
This girl was the first prosecution witness and presumably the strongest.
The prosecutors believed that this kind of evidence was enough to justify a trial, enough to get a conviction. Was this an unreasonable belief? No, because in most cases that would be enough to get a conviction, and a good long sentence. It doesn't take a consistent story, all it takes is the accusation.
I could go on for pages trying to summarize this gigantic clusterfuck, but so much has already been written, and better than I could ever say it. Take a look at the links below the post if you're interested in learning more about Tonya Craft's story.
My point is that, if there had been even a shred of proof, it's unlikely the prosecution, experts, and even the judge in the case would have gone to such great lengths to secure a conviction. But because they did, these little girls that were so shamefully manipulated will have to live with the fall-out from their brush with the 'justice system' for the rest of their lives.
According to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, children are especially susceptible to the power of suggestion when it comes to memories.
"There's been some attention given to the question of false memory," Welner said on "GMA" Tuesday. "Children can take in the suggestion of parents or authority figures and want to please them. Because parents are convinced something happened, they want it to [have] happened.
"I'm not saying this is a false memory. What I'm saying is the jury has a powerful question on them going both ways," he said.
There are a lot of little children out there, suffering the damage that is caused by molestation. There are a few who, because of their courage, and the support of those around them, take the stand against their tormentors and relate to a jury exactly what happened, clearly and consistently. Out of respect for those children, how can we allow the state to continue to use relentless counselors, social workers, and cops to warp the minds of kids who's biggest problem in life is 'ugly pajamas', and use the results to drag men and women through this kind of bullshit?
An idea was inserted into these children's minds, that they were sexually assaulted. Once the kid begins to think it really happened, they're going to have to deal with the emotions, the fears, the introduction to sex at an age that's just not ready for it. Once they're old enough to realize the story they were given doesn't add up, you can add soul-crushing guilt and shame which should rightfully belong to the adults that were supposed to be protecting them.
These kids got raped, but not by Tonya Craft.