What I Learned at the Evidentiary Hearing for Thomas Chantry

By | July 20, 2018

Today, Thursday, July 19, 2018, I attended an Evidentiary Hearing for Thomas Chantry at the Yavapai County Superior Court located in Prescott, AZ.  I learned the following things:

  • Chantry’s trial will take place as scheduled, commencing on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at 0900. The trial is scheduled to last twelve days over a three week period, running from Tuesday-Friday each week. The trial will take place at the Yavapai County Superior Court located in Camp Verde, AZ. This location is a change. At the hearing I overheard Prosecuting Attorney Susan Eazer say (off the record) that she thinks the trial will be finished in two weeks. Later in the day, Defense Attorney John Sears seemed to indicate he thought it would be longer.
  • Judge Astrowsky stated that Count 6 alleges Thomas Chantry struck a victim with a punch to the face with a closed fist.
  • There were two reports published by the three-man ARBCA investigative committee. This committee investigated the Chantry abuse in 2000. The two reports are similar but have differences. One report is signed by only the three-man team, the other report is signed by the three-man team, Miller Valley Baptist Church elders, Thomas Chantry and Don Linblad. The report signed by only the three-man team concluded that there were strong indications that spankings administered by Chantry to the victims were for Chantry’s personal pleasure. This report was “sealed” and not intended for wide distribution. ARBCA has stated that the parents of the victims saw the report and chose not to report the abuse to Law Enforcement. This was refuted today by Prosecuting Attorney Susan Eazer. She stated that families never saw the report indicating that what Chantry did was for his personal pleasure and if they had seen it they all said they would have reported the abuse to the Police.
  • There was much discussion on the use of referring to the victims as “alleged victim” or “victim.” This was based on a recent legal decision you can read about here. Defense Attorney John Sears attempted to get the judge to rule that the Prosecution must refer to a victim as an “alleged victim.” Apparently, both sides think the use of one term over another is critical in influencing jury members. Judge Astrowsky ruled that the Defense can use “alleged victim” and the Prosecution can use “victim” or the individual’s name, whatever they prefer.

This was the first time I have seen the inner workings of the court system and I was fascinated by the experience. I came away with a very favorable impression of Judge Astrowsky.  I thought he was firm but fair, has a wealth of knowledge in legal matters, possesses keen insight and common sense, is kind and humble and very willing to let each side attempt to persuade him of their view.

I feel Thomas Chantry has a very sharp attorney in John Sears. I also feel the State has in Susan Eazer an attorney who is quite capable of matching wits with Mr. Sears. It should make for a very interesting trial.

Parting comments:

Shout out to Tony Camacho, a kind gentleman who gave me new batteries for my hearing aids! Mine went dead about an hour into the hearing. (Note to self – always carry extra batteries when going to court!)

I enjoyed making friends with the Prescott Daily Courier reporter, Max Efrein. He has been kind enough to respond to my many emails over the last year as I attempted to keep abreast of the Chantry case. He gave me some helpful tips on conducting research today, which I greatly appreciated.

Thanks to an unnamed man who used to be a pastor and church planter for his kind words of encouragement.

Unsolicited advice for Thomas Chantry – find a tailor prior to Tuesday. Your suit needs some serious alterations.

I hope to write another article tomorrow in which I will take a new look at ARBCA’s fraudulent claims that there was no cover-up in the Chantry case. Evidence shows otherwise.

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