Not Guilty but the fight goes on

A jury took a day and a half to find Tonya Craft not guilty on 22 charges of child molestation. While the court clerk read the verdict in a sonorous voice said to shake defendants to the core, I knelt in front of my sofa praying to keep hearing those two words all the way through. Ms. Craft, to her credit, remained upright and in control until after the final not guilty. She had her life back but at what cost?

Her children still live with her ex-husband but the motions have already been filed to change that. Ms. Craft's professional life will never be the same. Teaching is now a long destroyed dream. She has expressed an interest in going back to school, to become a lawyer representing not only falsely accused people but the children. That's her one concern as she appears on talk shows from the national networks who finally came to find out what a small town in NW Georgia had going on that was causing so much hoopla.

I can only say I have half the courage and strength as Ms. Craft as I begin to plan a story that gave birth during this trial. A screenwriter friend made a great suggestion, one I plan to take. This story about Southern communities, churches with nothing more than social status on their minds, and revenge as only bored Southern housewives can wreak will come from the same person Ms. Craft is so bent on protecting, a child. But she'll tell the story in the one way Ms. Craft didn't have the chance to experience, as a vocal proponent of her mom's fight for survival and freedom. Thanks to Bill Anderson and the many people commenting on his blog, I have tons of information already. But it will take six months or more to discover the rest. I can only hope Ms. Craft doesn't have to wait that long to hold her babies in her arms again. As one mother to another, missed birthdays and mother's days can be fixed with one phrase that has no qualifications. I love you.