Synopses & Reviews
This is the true story of a woman who prevailed against the most heinous accusations imaginable.
Tonya Craft was an ordinary woman who was living a wonderful life. A kindergarten teacher who was passionate about her work and the mother of two fantastic children, she lived in a comfortable house and enjoyed spending the summer with her kids.
But on May 30, 2008, Tonyas happy life came to a screeching halt. Two strange men appeared at her door and accused her of a deplorable crime: molesting three childrenfriends and classmates of her own children.
Tonya knew she was innocent and that there wasnt one shred of truth to the allegations. What she would soon learn was that for the falsely accused, the truth unfortunately offers little protection. With frightening speed, Tonya was arrested and charged with 22 counts of child molestation. She suddenly faced the very real possibility that she could lose everythingher job, her family, her reputation . . . her freedom.
Tonyas life spiraled into a witch-trial nightmare of guilt before innocence as her children were taken away without a goodbye and her own daughter was forced to take the stand against her in a courtroom. The situation seemed hopeless, and Tonya was shell-shocked and heartbroken. But somehow she found the strength to fight.
Tonya rallied, and took charge of her own defense, even defying her own lawyers on a few occasions. Tonyas goal was not only to avoid conviction; it was to clear her name, and, most of all, to regain custody of her children.
This book is about more than Tonyas shocking trial and her fight for justice. Her story offers an uncommon example of undying love, faith, and forgivenessespecially when she explains how she forgave the very people who caused her harm.
Nothing prepared me for the power of this book and its markedly human perspective of the realities of being criminally accused. Tonya reveals the strength of her own character and gives the reader a look beyond legalities and into the heart of a caring mother. Accused
is a must-read, a true tour de force.”
R. Champ Crocker, Cullman Attorney named one of the Nations Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Council
Tonya Craft found herself in an unspeakable situation that rocked her world. Through the grace of God and her tenacious spirit, today she is a trusted expert highly sought by the falsely accused and those who defend them. You will be amazed at the power of forgiveness and its impact on an impossible situation.”
Jan Silvious, author of Foolproofing Your Life and Same Life, New Story
Accused, the true story of a Tonya Crafts fight against the criminal justice system, is much more than a blow by blow account of a woman facing a prosecutorial steamroller. It is also a deeper journey of the heart, and how the power of forgiveness is greater than the bitter root of false accusation.”
Robert Whitlow, bestselling author of The Confession
"Sexual abuse of children is a serious crime, and should be dealt with fairly and carefully. Over the years attempts to bring offenders to justice have often been abusive in their own right. Cases built by so-called experts pressuring children through suggestive and leading questions, combined with overzealous prosecutions, have led to the debacles we experienced in California in the McMartin case, and in the Kern County prosecutions I reviewed when I was California Attorney General. They should have created a warning, a yellow light, to be careful when dealing with child witnesses. When those warnings are not heeded injustice can result, and the lives of the accused, when innocent, can be irreparably damaged. Tonya Craft's own story, and the jury's findings of Not Guilty on 22 counts, more than twenty years after the California cases, proves once again that when dealing with allegations of this sort, the best practices we learned the hard way need to be front and center. Will we ever learn?”
John Van de Kamp, Former California Attorney General
About the Author
was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by two wonderful parents. Immediately following high school, Tonya attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with the desire to become an educator. Tonya obtained her Bachelor of Science in Education and began teaching at the middle school level, but soon found her niche with elementary students. Soon, Tonya faced life as a single mother and created a personal training business and took a position as a literacy trainer with UT Chattanooga. As a single mother, she worked and went to school full-time, graduating with a Masters Degree in Education with a reading and literacy specialization. She soon began teaching kindergarten in Northern Georgia.
In May of 2008, however, Tonyas life would change forever. Falsely accused of child molestation she lost her home, her career, her reputation, her financial stability, and most importantly, her two children. Years of struggling with the judicial system educated Tonya more than any textbook, professor, or seminar ever could. She eventually won her court case, acquitted on all 22 counts. Since then, Tonya has served as a consultant on a variety of child molestation cases. She is pursuing a law degree and is committed to helping others trapped in similar situations. She lives near Chattanooga with her two children.
Mark Dagostino is a New York Times bestselling co-author and former Senior Writer for People Magazine. As a news reporter, Mark was on the scene when JFK Jr.s plane went down, reported from Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11, and stood witness as survivors came ashore during the Miracle on the Hudson. Mark also cut his teeth in the courtroom, covering trials ranging from the Pamela Smart case in his home state of New Hampshire (while he was in college), to Rosie ODonnells $100-million lawsuit with publisher Gruner+Jahr. He also became one of the most-respected celebrity journalists in the business, scoring hundreds of personal interviews with the biggest names in Hollywood, including Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Reeve, and Michael J. Fox. He now lives a somewhat quieter life in New Hampshire with his family.