Charges dropped against former cop - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Charges dropped against former cop

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Instead of appearing in a courtroom as a defendant Monday morning, Tim Craft instead is defending his name.

"They destroyed me, no if and or buts bout that," said Craft, a former cop, who was to stand trial on a sexual battery charge in Lamar County involving a then 4-year-old girl, but last week, the charge was dropped by the district attorney's office, even though district attorney Hal Kittrell still stands by the case.

"That charge at this point we were unable to proceed because the child is just not able to testify at the present time," said Kittrell.

Craft was arrested in 2007, when Jones County authorities said he had explicit pictures of a little girl on his work computer, taken at a home in Lamar County.

The girl is a family member of Lola Husley, the woman Craft said he was having an affair with. Craft admits there were nude pictures on the computer, but said they weren't of the girl, rather, they were of Husley. Craft said the girl was only in four pictures and wasn't nude.

"I have never, ever had a single child pornographic image anywhere around me," said Craft.

After investigating further Husley was also arrested and Craft eventually agreed to work with Jones County authorities to deliver more evidence against her in exchange for immunity, even though he says he was innocent. A deal was struck and Husley eventually pleaded guilty to child exploitation charges and is currently serving a 12-year sentence.

"Towards the end of our relationship, Lola started opening up to me and confessed some things that, I say are wrong and maybe I should have raised my hand and said, uh, Lola, this probably isn't right," said Craft.

About a year after his arrest, Craft was indicted by Lamar County grand jury on four charges of child exploitation and one count of sexual battery.Because of the immunity agreement, Kittrell says the child exploitation charges had to be dropped.

"Jones County officials and certainly we did not anticipate that their agreement would bind us in Lamar County, but the court found differently and so we respect that," said Kittrell.

The sexual battery charge came after an allegation that Craft engaged in oral sex with the girl, a claim Craft says is false although he says he did write a letter admitting to the act, but said Husley coaxed him into to it.

"I'm stoned out of my head on Dramamine and beer and she makes me write exactly what it says," said Craft.

Craft said after realizing what he had written, he ripped the letter up, but claims one was fabricated and used against him anyway. Even though the charge is now dropped due to the girl not being at a point to testify, Kittrell says that doesn't mean it's over.

"We have reserved a right to re-file the charge and so it's just a matter of now when our victim is in a position, if and when she's in a position to testify, we will look at bringing the charge," said Craft.

It is a move Craft said he expects, having been the victim of defamation.

"Regardless of the fact that all my charges are dismissed now, anybody that looks at me is going to have that stigma of he probably molested that girl," said Craft.

That girl now holds the case.

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