CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

August 16, 2013

Cullman man found guilty of rape and sexual abuse of a child

By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — A Cullman man was convicted of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of a child who under 12 years of age in Circuit Court on Wednesday and could serve up to 60 years in prison.

Clarence Christopher Craft, 58, was arrested in the fall of 2011 for allegedly abusing a relative for multiple years and was convicted on the charges after two and a half days in circuit court this week. District Attorney Wilson Blaylock said it was an extremely emotional trial, but they were pleased with the outcome and hard work of everyone involved.

“We’re going to do everything to keep in him in jail as long as we can,” Blaylock said. “We went to trial on Monday and received the guilty verdict after lunch on Wednesday. It was a very emotional trial with the family having to re-live it and the details of the case.”

Cullman City Police Lieutenant Gene Bates investigated the case which began after allegations were reported to investigators on September 12, 2011.

“It takes a lot of courage for a victim to come forward and report something like this, but she also followed the case through and testified in court,” Bates said. “You can’t really say you’re excited because it’s a sad situation, but I’m very pleased with the verdict. Those who prosecuted the case, they deserve the credit of the conviction; They did an outstanding job. I know at night when everyone else would go home, they were still there working on it. They put a lot of effort into it and went above and beyond in my opinion, the dedication to their jobs and this case did not go unnoticed.”

Deputy District Attorney John Bryant tried the case under Judge Greg Nicholas in Circuit Court. Trial Coordinator Lynicia Lovell assisted the case, as well as Gail Swafford with the Cullman Advocacy Center. Blaylock said Lovell, Bryant, and Swafford all did a great job.

“I am proud of our staff, a lot of man hours went into the prosecution of this case,” Blaylock said. “Law enforcement, investigation, Gene Bates in particular, all played a huge part. It’s a hard case to try, but you know you are doing the right thing and justice was truly served in this case.”

Craft is being held at the Cullman County Detention until his sentencing date on October 30. Each charge carries a maximum of 20 years.



Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.