Day Eight of the Thomas Chantry Trial

By | May 8, 2019

I told a friend I would put a link to “In the Shadow of the Cross: The True Account of My Childhood Sexual and Ritual Abuse at the Hands of a Roman Catholic Priest” in my article today, so here you go!

Last Friday we heard testimony from Chris Schopen, a Dedicated Forensic Interviewer. Ms. Schopen testified about “delayed disclosure” which simply means there is a time gap between the occurrence of sexual molestation and the  reporting of the event by the victim to another individual.  Ms. Schopen testified that the vast majority of victims are delayed disclosure. The story of Charles L. Bailey, Jr. in the book above is a classic example of delayed disclosure; Charles told no one he was molested until many years later. The victim in the trial I am presently covering is another example.

Present in the courtroom gallery today were Tom Chantry’s wife, Karen and Tom’s sister, Judy Rogers.  Also sitting on the Defendants side of the gallery was a woman whom I believe was the wife of Detective Rich Robertson. On the other side of the aisle was a reporter for the Prescott/Camp Verde newspapers, three individuals who were formerly members of  Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert, AZ. (You may recall  that Grace Covenant Church lost about 60% of their members after an internal investigation of their ARBCA pastor, John Giarrizzo revealed he had lied about his long-time support of Thomas Chantry. See “ARBCA Insider John Giarrizzo is Caught Lying, Admits ARBCA Cover-up Yet Manages to Keep Job.”) a family member of the Prosecutor, a friend of Carolyn Ladner, well known blogger Brent Detwiler and I.

Noticeable by their absence from the entire trial were any ARBCA pastors.

Noticeable by their absence today were any of the individuals who testified in this case, or any member of the Miller Valley Baptist Church.

In the morning session of court we heard the closing arguments from the Prosecutor, Susan Eazer and Defense attorney, Ryan Stevens. Both arguments went about as I expected.

Ms. Eazer highlighted the testimony of the victim, mentioning his letter written in 2000 for the  upcoming ARBCA investigation. Ms. Eazer noted that while the letter never  specifically mentioned the victim was molested by Thomas Chantry, it did paint a picture that screamed out what happened, noting that the victim called Thomas Chantry a sick, twisted monster.

Ms. Eazer said that the delay of the victim in stating that Thomas Chantry molested him was an example of “delayed disclosure,” pointing out that this is what Chris Schopen testified about last Friday.

Ms. Eazer also stated that the victim was not testifying for revenge or attention, noting that it was not the victim who called the Police. She also said the victim was not seeking or expecting any monetary reward. She reminded the jurors how difficult it was for the victim to talk about such embarrassing events.

Ms. Eazer then delved into the testimony of the other witnesses and stated that Thomas Chantry likes to spank little boys; he likes to cause pain and that pain then gives him an excuse to comfort, touch and molest. Ms. Eazer noted that Chantry only spanked the female victim once (Chantry was convicted of assaulting her and her brother in the first trial.) because Tom likes little boys.

Mr. Stevens began his closing argument at 10:50. He said that the States case relies directly on the victims credibility and believability and he was going to show the jury how the victim contradicted himself and asked the jury to assess the quality of the victim’s memory.

Mr. Stevens noted that the testimony of the victim was completely uncorroborated, there was no objective physical evidence, there was exaggeration by witnesses, there was mention of horrible beatings but no doctor visits, there was an ineffective, nearly non-existent police investigation and there were many contradictions in all the witnesses testimony based on transcripts from the prior sworn testimony to this trial.

Mr. Stevens then effectively used a visual display of four “in baskets.” Each basket was a classification of evidence presented in the trial. One was “Heavy Distraction,” one was “Reasonable Doubt,” one was “Actual Proof,” and I can’t remember the fourth as I was experiencing some heavy distraction at the time! Mr. Stevens went through numerous items of testimony we heard in court and filed each item (a piece of paper with a descriptive title of the evidence) in the appropriate in-basket. As you can imagine, at the end of the demonstration the basket labeled “Actual Proof” was empty.  Mr. Stevens then said, “This is not what beyond a reasonable doubt looks like to convict a person of child molestation.”

After Mr. Stevens finished his closing argument we broke for lunch.

Following lunch Ms. Eazer conducted her rebuttal.  She countered some of the points Mr. Stevens made in his closing argument and went on the offensive against Thomas Chantry, stating that he wanted to see little boys butts turn red, he liked inflicting pain, but  Chantry used this pain so he could then comfort the child and this would then lead to the “touching.”

Chantry used spankings as a gateway into molestation which is why the testimony of other victims and their parents is relevant to this case, said Ms. Eazer.

Ms. Eazer then talked of how Chantry groomed the parents and how he took advantage of the boys ultra-religious upbringing, threatening them that God wouldn’t be happy with them if they told anyone of the spankings and they wouldn’t get into heaven.

Ms. Eazer closed her rebuttal around 2:00.

Three of the fifteen jurors were then randomly selected to be alternate jurors, the four charges were read, some final instructions were issued and then the jury was sent out to begin deliberations around 2:30.

At 4:30 the jury recessed for the day. Deliberations will continue tomorrow.  My assumption is we will get a verdict tomorrow.

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