Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and the Strength to Forgive Info

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This is the true story of a woman who prevailed against
the most heinous accusations imaginable.


Tonya Craft, a
Georgia kindergarten teacher and loving mother of two, never expected a
knock on her door to change her life forever. But in May 2008, false
accusations of child molestation turned her world upside down. The trial
that followed dragged her reputation through the mud and lent
nationwide notoriety to her name.

Tonya’s life spiraled
into a witch-trial nightmare in which she was deemed guilty before her
innocence could be determined by a jury. Her children were taken away
without even 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 that didn’t keep her
from finding the strength to fight.

Over the course of two
terrifying years, Tonya rallied to take charge of her own defense,
flying across the country and knocking on doors on a desperate quest for
answers, and defying her own lawyers on more than one occasion.
Tonya’s goal was not only to avoid conviction; it was to clear her
name, and, most of all, regain custody of her
children.

Accused is about more than Tonya’s
shocking trial and fight for justice. It is the story of a
mother’s extraordinary love, the faith that sees her through it
all, and the forgiveness that sets her free.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and the Strength to Forgive:

5

Aug 23, 2015

The primary lesson learned from this book? Be very, very careful with whom you are "friends." This is Tonya Craft's extraordinary and often almost unbelievable story of the witch hunt that occurred in Catoosa County, Georgia. Go inside the extreme cronyism of northwest Georgia where the "Good Ole Boy--and Gal" network reigns supreme. The scariest part of all this is that it could happen to anyone at anytime: all it took were for a few vindictive, jealous and insecure women to make unfounded The primary lesson learned from this book? Be very, very careful with whom you are "friends." This is Tonya Craft's extraordinary and often almost unbelievable story of the witch hunt that occurred in Catoosa County, Georgia. Go inside the extreme cronyism of northwest Georgia where the "Good Ole Boy--and Gal" network reigns supreme. The scariest part of all this is that it could happen to anyone at anytime: all it took were for a few vindictive, jealous and insecure women to make unfounded molestation allegations to ruin Craft's life: she lost her kids, her job, her house and very near lost her freedom. Justice does prevail--but only because Craft grabbed justice by the tail and refused to let go. Without her determination to prove her innocence she could easily be rotting away in prison today: in fact, one of the women obsessed with "getting her" told others that she hoped Craft died a "long slow death." This resulted from one fact: that Craft dared to quietly reprimand her bratty daughter. How does one go from being a heralded and award winning kindergarten teacher to being the "monster" of a small corrupt community? The Good Ole Gals and their cohorts. Amazing read--especially since I live in the county next door and have family roots to the areas in which this shoddy and sham investigation of lies took place. ...more
5

Dec 02, 2019

Tanya Craft was a teacher and an excellent one. She had wonderful friends and family and was deeply cared about in her community.

Then one day the doorbell rang.

Tanya was accused of molesting several children including her own daughter. She was indicted and charged and had a trial. She was found NOT GUILTY of all 2 2 charges. This is her story.



Reading this story was unbelievable. I felt so much. Anger at the justice system, fury at the people who were behind these false accusations and admiration Tanya Craft was a teacher and an excellent one. She had wonderful friends and family and was deeply cared about in her community.

Then one day the doorbell rang.

Tanya was accused of molesting several children including her own daughter. She was indicted and charged and had a trial. She was found NOT GUILTY of all 2 2 charges. This is her story.



Reading this story was unbelievable. I felt so much. Anger at the justice system, fury at the people who were behind these false accusations and admiration and awe for Tanya Craft.

I had heard about this case but really did not know all that much about it. I do know that false accusations happen, probably more then many realize. My parents have both worked in the fields of psychology and social work. They have seen this. My dad is still a working psychologist and both he and my mom know all about false memories and how children can be "coached". That doesn't mean child abuse does not happen. It does and tragically it happens to frequently. But it did not happen in this case. Luckily, her jury saw through all the lies and false stories and acquitted her on all charges.

It was an honor to read her story and get to know Tanya through her words. She is quite a lady.

Rather then give up after these charges were filed against her..and after they had taken her children away and she'd lost her job and so much more..she decided to fight. Tanya fought these charges with everything in her, proving her innocence with the help of a feisty legal team whom I came to love. They are good people.

This is a long book that I flew through. It is hard not to be outraged by what happened to her. Outraged and frightened. It is hard not to want revenge.

The parts that hit me hardest were actually what happened to Tanya AFTER she was acquitted. Forgiveness is a huge theme here and the way she responded to her accusers speaks to a woman of not only high character but with a spiritual element to her. Tanya did something that I am not so sure I could do under those circumstances. She forgave.

This book will make you angry. It may make you cry. It will fill you with compassion. But most of all, it will make you believe. Not in badness and evil, but in goodness. In Heroes. In great friends and family who love and fight for someone they love with deep intensity. It will make you believe in the power of forgiveness and the power of God..or if you do not believe in God, that is fine too as it will make even the non believers feel that humanity and common decency are present if we look for them.

It is a moving, heart rending, deeply emotional read and I am so glad that Tanya is free and that she and her family and friends are happy.

Tanya has become a lawyer and now fights for people in the way her lawyers fought for her. This was an amazing book and one that I would wholeheartedly recommend. ...more
5

Aug 17, 2015

I remember reading about this story in the newspaper, so when I saw this on Net Galley I requested this book from the publishers BenBella Books.

Here we have a woman who worked in a Kindergarten. Through malicious lies and accusations she was deemed a child molester. She was accused of molesting her daughter and some of her daughters friends.

What follows is awful, horrendous and I just don't know how sometimes she had the strength to come through it.

If you want to read a "tell-all" story this is I remember reading about this story in the newspaper, so when I saw this on Net Galley I requested this book from the publishers BenBella Books.

Here we have a woman who worked in a Kindergarten. Through malicious lies and accusations she was deemed a child molester. She was accused of molesting her daughter and some of her daughters friends.

What follows is awful, horrendous and I just don't know how sometimes she had the strength to come through it.

If you want to read a "tell-all" story this is for you. An insight behind the newspapers and a direct avenue into this falsely accused woman's life.

...more
5

Sep 05, 2015

Could not put this book down! What a story this woman has to tell. Terrifying, heartbreaking, and jaw dropping. I remember when this story broke and watched the news coverage that followed. I never had any idea what was really going on behind the scenes and the completely uphill battle this woman and her attorneys had to climb. Ms. Craft is made of strong stuff, that's for sure. Her ability to forgive is astounding. Great book.
5

Apr 24, 2019

What this woman went through for two and a half years is completely insane. Due to an acrimonious divorce and a falling out with some powerful women in her small Georgia town, Craft ended up charged with 22 counts of child molestation and faced spending the rest of her life in prison. When the case finally reached a courtroom (where even the judge seemed dead set on ensuring she was convicted) the charges against her quickly fell apart. It was obvious her young accusers had been coached with What this woman went through for two and a half years is completely insane. Due to an acrimonious divorce and a falling out with some powerful women in her small Georgia town, Craft ended up charged with 22 counts of child molestation and faced spending the rest of her life in prison. When the case finally reached a courtroom (where even the judge seemed dead set on ensuring she was convicted) the charges against her quickly fell apart. It was obvious her young accusers had been coached with some going so far as to say their mothers had told them where they had been inappropriately touched. The therapists who interviewed the children had little training and pushed and pushed until the kids told them what they wanted to hear. This kind of suggestive and leading questioning can be hugely damaging to young children who will develop false memories and genuinely believe they were abused.

Allegations of sexual abuse should always be taken seriously. However, everyone from therapists to police officers to district attorneys need to be fair and unbiased. They should be focused on getting to the truth. This isn't what happened in this case. If those involved had been fair and unbiased they would have seen the accusations for what they were and Craft wouldn't have been charged to begin with. Instead, accusations were made and Craft wasn't given an opportunity to refute them until her trial. Defending herself cost half a million dollars causing serious financial hardship for her, her husband and her parents. She lost her home and her job as a kindergarten teacher, as well as custody of her kids during the two and a half years between the accusations and her acquittal.

Tonya Craft's story is long but riveting. It's a pity such an engaging story really happened. ...more
3

Sep 21, 2019

Tonya, a kindergarten teacher with 2 small children
(a boy & girl) commuted 20 miles from her home in
Tennessee to her new school in small town Georgia,
and earned her Master's degree while working full-
time. Her 2nd ex-spouse (father of her kids) lived
in Tenn. She moved to GA. for the next school year.

The parents and school kids mostly loved Tonya. Two
moms got angry when Tonya verbally corrected their
daughters in a social setting. One mom seethed when
Tonya explained her dtr was Tonya, a kindergarten teacher with 2 small children
(a boy & girl) commuted 20 miles from her home in
Tennessee to her new school in small town Georgia,
and earned her Master's degree while working full-
time. Her 2nd ex-spouse (father of her kids) lived
in Tenn. She moved to GA. for the next school year.

The parents and school kids mostly loved Tonya. Two
moms got angry when Tonya verbally corrected their
daughters in a social setting. One mom seethed when
Tonya explained her dtr was unprepared for promotion
to 1st grade. The girl's father blamed Tonya, "Somebody
dropped the ball. Somebody's gonna pay! And we all
know who that is!" IMO Tonya could have been more
diplomatic & less blunt @ times in interactions with
others.

One summer day, 2 detectives, stopped by Tonya's to
inform her: she was accused of sexual abuse against
3 girls, including her own daughter! The police did
not release the details. But treated her as if guilty.The
(GA.) school bd. terminated her contract before she
even received a criminal indictment. It appeared that
Tonya's ex-friends & 2nd ex-spouse had been some of
the accusers.

Tonya recounted how each girl was interviewed, on tape,
by a therapist & police, in separate sessions, to investigate
the sex abuse charge. A nurse examined each girl. Tonya
and her defense team saw the videos, where the inter-
viewers tended to ask leading questions & @ times badger
each girl.

Tonya discussed charges, lack of evidence & inconsistencies
in statements, depositions and videos. She spent too long
recounting trial testimony, which repeated aforementioned
themes.

By trial/ error, Tonya assembled 4 excellent lawyers: 1 for
her civil child custody case in Tenn., + for her criminal case:
2 from Atlanta & lastly a child psychologist/ attorney from
Michigan. Her team filed countless legal motions. Her
parents cashed in their life savings & took out a 2nd mort-
gage to contribute to the $500+K spent by the defense on
attys, a PI, expert witnesses, travel etc. Tonya's church/
other friends, FB friends also 'passed the hat.' Her closest
friends helped in so many ways. This took place over 2 years.

The asst DA needed to mature. He accused Tonya of being
a drunkard, lesbian, narcisstic, and occasional party in a
threesome. He tried to paint her as a deviant. He asked
Tonya and others on the witness stand: did Tonya wear
a bikini? a thong? This was relevant how? What Judge
in the world would permit an ADA to make these heresay
assumptions? The Judge should have cut off the ADA's
diatribe.

Tonya reconciled w/ her 3rd spouse David. He left before
he & she even knew of the allegations to come. When mom
was reunited with her 2 kids, they were stiff and not emo-
tionally/ physically close, but this improved w/ the passage
of time. Tonya forgave several people, some folks would be
more inclined to snub. Her capacity to forgive was amazing!

Tonya assisted in her defense, including reading the Georgia
penal code cover to cover (!) & locating and talking to
potential expert witnesses. ...more
5

Sep 03, 2015

Wow....just WOW! As a former kindergarten teacher myself, and as a mother, this story was like living my worst nightmare. The longer I listened to this story, and the ridiculousness of the whole thing, the angrier I got at the way the system treated this woman. The time that she had to spend in jail was simply disgusting, among other things.

As I listened to the narrator read the verdict on all 22 charges, I sat here and cried. And when I heard about her forgiving her ex-husband, and forgiving Wow....just WOW! As a former kindergarten teacher myself, and as a mother, this story was like living my worst nightmare. The longer I listened to this story, and the ridiculousness of the whole thing, the angrier I got at the way the system treated this woman. The time that she had to spend in jail was simply disgusting, among other things.

As I listened to the narrator read the verdict on all 22 charges, I sat here and cried. And when I heard about her forgiving her ex-husband, and forgiving everyone else who falsely accused her and basically ruined her life, I was amazed at her strength.

Before I discovered this book, I hadn't heard her story...now I'm watching a variety of interviews with her on YouTube, and the whole thing is just stunning. ...more
5

Dec 31, 2017

5 solid stars! One of THE best books I've ever read. I want to hug this woman.
5

Dec 14, 2015

Fantastic. Powerful. Honest.

Made me cry...shout in anger...and praise God...all at the same time!! Powerful and eye opening. And it all happened in my county...Tonya Craft's story should give us all chills.
5

Apr 30, 2016

I don't watch TV News. I gave it up for sanity's sake right around Hurricane Katrina and my life's been all the better for it. So I went into this book knowing _absolutely nothing_ about Tonya Craft or her case.

I was drawn to the book because I was a high schooler when the McMartin case and all the Satanic Panic went down in the 1980s and I've remained very interested in how people use accusations of child molestation for revenge or manipulation. Likewise I've been extremely curious about I don't watch TV News. I gave it up for sanity's sake right around Hurricane Katrina and my life's been all the better for it. So I went into this book knowing _absolutely nothing_ about Tonya Craft or her case.

I was drawn to the book because I was a high schooler when the McMartin case and all the Satanic Panic went down in the 1980s and I've remained very interested in how people use accusations of child molestation for revenge or manipulation. Likewise I've been extremely curious about recovered memory syndrome and all the ways adults manipulate children into lying. As an adult I've seen numerous cases where one parent in a divorce action will falsely accuse the other of molestation. It is, sadly, a very common occurance.

Craft's book presents a chilling, highly detailed account of her two year ordeal to clear her name. I especially appreciated how meticulously footnoted this book is. Every claim she makes has a footnote to reference specific testimony or documents. I imagine that attention to detail played a large part in her acquittal.

Our justice system is broken. Of that I had no doubt, even _before_ I read this book. Sadly I am also convinced that many humans are also broken. The clique at the center of this book is clear proof that MeanGirls are always among us and are always always dangerous. ...more
5

Jan 02, 2016

Amazing Forgiveness

I live in the area and followed the case in the media. It was interesting to see what went into this case. So many aren't savvy enough to take control of their defense as Tonya was, not mention the resources involved. It's a shame these people were allowed to make such a joke of the court system. The judge, whose job it is to monitor this behavior actually perpetuated it in his rulings.

The book is long but necessary to see how the jury arrived at their verdict. It includes Amazing Forgiveness

I live in the area and followed the case in the media. It was interesting to see what went into this case. So many aren't savvy enough to take control of their defense as Tonya was, not mention the resources involved. It's a shame these people were allowed to make such a joke of the court system. The judge, whose job it is to monitor this behavior actually perpetuated it in his rulings.

The book is long but necessary to see how the jury arrived at their verdict. It includes footnotes from the court record to prove points are not from memory.

We are taught to forgive, that doesn't mean forget which would be impossible but proves the forgiveness is for you so you can move on. And move on she did with a second career in service to others.

I have to wonder if this was worth the sacrifice of broken marriages and the damage done to those girls which will last a lifetime. The only thing worse would be if it actually happened! ...more
5

Jun 17, 2016

What this woman has been through, I can't even imagine. A survival story if there ever was one...
5

Dec 30, 2015

I read this book in just 3 days, perhaps because it resonated deeply with me. Why are we so quick to believe someone is guilty of abuse just because someone said so? Does the accuser have something to hide so they create the perfect deflection? Why do we tend to doubt the accused not the accuser? I am so sad for the injustices this woman endured. I admire her bravery and her fighting spirit but mostly her understanding that forgiveness is what finally freed her and allowed her to be happy I read this book in just 3 days, perhaps because it resonated deeply with me. Why are we so quick to believe someone is guilty of abuse just because someone said so? Does the accuser have something to hide so they create the perfect deflection? Why do we tend to doubt the accused not the accuser? I am so sad for the injustices this woman endured. I admire her bravery and her fighting spirit but mostly her understanding that forgiveness is what finally freed her and allowed her to be happy again. I am happy that there were good decent jurors who believed in her innocence. I am grateful to know for a surety that truth will always prevail in the end. ...more
5

November 24, 2015

I could feel the emotions while reading it. She is a very strong woman
4

Oct 21, 2015

Captivating story. I followed the trial closely when it was going on, so the subject wasn't completely new to me. Not the best written book ever, but that isn't really the point. Interested to see where Tonya Craft goes in her new career as a lawyer.
4

Jun 23, 2016

Difficult

A very difficult story to read. It's hard to imagine the pain this family suffered. I wish them well. I also hope for the accusers (the adults,not the kids) figure out their reasons for their actions.
5

Sep 24, 2016

Amazing story

I had to read this book for my book club. I could not put it down. It is well written and thought provoking. As a former school counselor human behavior always intrigues me and I have been involved in abuse cases as well. Her story needs to be read by anyone who is a parent and works with children. It is a must read.
3

Sep 12, 2015

I'm a true-crime lover, but this is one of the craziest stories I've ever read.

While a little heavy on the faith for my personal taste, Craft's story is detailed, compelling, and shocking. It's a classic true-crime tell-all, and I couldn't stop reading. Recommended for anyone who loves a good crime story. Tonya Craft went through the ringer, and I'm grateful she's here to tell us about it.
5

Jan 18, 2016

I listened to the audio book and it was a great listen. It was hard to pause it. It really makes you think about the accused and how the media portrays them as already guilty when they should be presumed innocent. So disturbing. It really makes me wonder how many innocent people are convicted. Also, its sad how much time and money a person must spend to defend themselves.
5

Sep 24, 2016

Wonderfully written she takes.you right there, you feel her terror & heartache. Sickens me the justice system & police forces are allowed to do this to people. Tonya is a blessing to people falsely accused, I know how messed up the judicial system is I've experienced it firsthand. Loved this book just wish she wouldn't have had to suffer like she did.
2

May 02, 2016

I live in Soddy Daisy and wanted more information about this case. Always believed she was railroaded and after reading the book, I still feel that way. The book was not well written and Mrs. Craft did not come across as a likable person. It all sounded like a bunch of pre-teen girls who were arguing and took things way to far and wasted a lot of time and taxpayer's money.
5

Oct 12, 2015

I received a free copy of Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice and the Strength to Forgive from Goodreads.

An absolute must read! This is the true story of kindergarten teacher who is falsely accused of sexually abusing her daughter and some of her friends. The events surrounding her trial read like an unbelievable fictional account, and yet at the end Tonya Craft finds the grace to be able to forgive.
5

Apr 29, 2016

Read in one gulp

Tonya does not pull punches, not with the details of the graphic accusations, nor with her own weaknesses and mistakes. This blunt honesty makes her story most compelling and powerful. For people who watched Making a Murderer and thought, "Could small town social politics become so petty that such a conspiracy develops?" In Tonya's case, at least, the answer is yes, and she unflinchingly explains how.
5

Mar 16, 2017

Even though I knew the story and I knew the ending, this local woman's saga of being falsely accused of child abuse was hard to put down because it is the inside story of everything we already knew from the outside. It's not that it's filled with brilliant prose, but it's told straightforwardly and mostly chronologically and in a tone as if the author were in the room relating her story to you. Again, though you know her trial's outcome, you find yourself pulling for her to be found not guilty, Even though I knew the story and I knew the ending, this local woman's saga of being falsely accused of child abuse was hard to put down because it is the inside story of everything we already knew from the outside. It's not that it's filled with brilliant prose, but it's told straightforwardly and mostly chronologically and in a tone as if the author were in the room relating her story to you. Again, though you know her trial's outcome, you find yourself pulling for her to be found not guilty, punish her accusers and be redeemed. Yet, life didn't become immediately rosy for her post-trial. ...more
5

Nov 06, 2017

This was an incredible read. I am stunned at the entire thing and feel this is a must read for anyone that works with kids. I still don't understand how just a few influential people were able to cause such damage with such flimsy claims and no evidence at all. Thank goodness Tonya had/found the financial resources to locate experts in multiple fields to prove why these claims were false. The fact that in the end, she was able to find forgiveness speaks volumes of her character. This story is so This was an incredible read. I am stunned at the entire thing and feel this is a must read for anyone that works with kids. I still don't understand how just a few influential people were able to cause such damage with such flimsy claims and no evidence at all. Thank goodness Tonya had/found the financial resources to locate experts in multiple fields to prove why these claims were false. The fact that in the end, she was able to find forgiveness speaks volumes of her character. This story is so unnerving but very well written. Eric Echols, the private investigator, also wrote The Echols Files which gives his point-of-view. It gives a bit more background as to how intertwined the lead players were. ...more

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