State won't seek to retry Howard child-abuse case


Sandra Craig, the former Howard County day-care operator whose child-abuse conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeals, said today she is "very pleased" that the state won't retry her case.

Prosecutors earlier had announced they would not pursue a second trial because they do not want to cause further trauma for the four children who originally testified against Craig in 1987.

"We agree with the state's decision wholeheartedly," said William Murphy, one of Craig's lawyers. "It was an excellent decision, but we don't agree with the reasons the state gave. We believe Mrs. Craig should not be retried because she is innocent."

Craig said the ordeal has caused her emotional pain and a ruined reputation, and has destroyed her chances of continuing a career as a day-care operator.

"I'm not bitter, I'm tired," Craig said at a news conference in her lawyer's Baltimore office. "I'm very pleased that we don't have to go through this any longer. We've been through a long nightmare."

Craig was convicted in 1987 of sexually and physically abusing a 6-year-old girl, but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision, saying the judge had not followed proper procedures in allowing four children to testify via closed-circuit television.

The court ruled that the judge should have interviewed the children to determine whether they would be traumatized by confronting Craig.

But in June 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people charged with child abuse are not always entitled to a face-to-face confrontation with their accuser.

The Craig case was reviewed again by the Court of Appeals, and judges upheld the decision to reverse Craig's conviction.

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