Tom Chantry’s Sentencing

Today I attended Tom Chantry’s sentencing. As has been reported, he received the maximum possible sentence of 24 years for each of the 4 counts of which he was found guilty. The sentences will be served concurrently, which means that he will serve 24 years. The sentences must be served in full, so he will serve the full 24 years (minus 404 days of pre-trial credit).

Judge Astrowsky explained the sentencing. Tom Chantry had been found guilty on 4 counts (counts 2 to 5). Each count would receive a possible sentence of 10 to 24 years: 17 years the presumptive sentence; 10 years if the judge felt it needed to be reduced due to mitigating circumstances; 24 years if the judge felt it needed to be increased due to aggravating circumstances. Since the law was different when the offenses occurred, whether or not the sentences would be served concurrently or consecutively was up to the discretion of the judge. The sentences must be served in full (no possibility of parole). The lowest possible sentence would be 10 years (10 years for each count; sentences served concurrently). The highest possible sentence would be 96 years (24 years for each count; sentences served consecutively).

Those making statements for the victim spoke next. The victim’s mother, sister-in-law, and father (speaking on behalf of the victim) spoke. They described how the victim and their families had suffered because of Tom Chantry’s actions and requested the maximum sentence for each count and consecutive sentences so that Tom Chantry would not be able to do to another child what he had done to the victim. After they spoke, it was opened up to non-family members and Bob Selph spoke. He spoke about how he had known the victim’s family for 40 years and trusted their testimony and integrity. He too requested that Tom Chantry receive the highest possible sentence.

Those making statements for Tom Chantry spoke next. Al Huber and Karen Chantry spoke. They both stated that they weren’t going to argue for Tom’s innocence. They described Tom’s behavior during the time they have known him, describing him as a loving father and husband as well as his charitable and positive works. Al Huber stated that, “Whatever he did in the past, he isn’t the same.” They requested the minimum sentence possible.

Prosecuting Attorney Susan Eazer spoke next. She stated that families are blinded, usually by love. She also said that Karen Chantry is manipulated by Tom and has allowed him to punish and spank their children outside of her presence. She also spoke of how Tom Chantry denied everything under oath, even some of the spanking. Tom’s testimony proves that he is a prolific liar, which makes him very dangerous. She talked about how the victims would crumble when they spoke about what happened and that the victim didn’t want to address the court because of what happens to him when he thinks or talks about it. She reiterated that they request the maximum allowable sentence.

Tom Chantry spoke for about about the next 40 to 45 minutes. He maintained his innocence. He stated that the church council was not concerned with facts, that they interrogated him in a haphazard fashion and wouldn’t allow him to speak. He said that Detective Belling was incompetent and didn’t encounter the facts. He claimed that Ms. Eazer advanced a false narrative and that Bob Selph finally arrived now that he can’t take the stand. Tom stated that he knows the truth and asked the judge to dismiss, disregard, and reject the requests of the victim and prosecution. Tom stated that the victim perjured himself, invented new allegations, and was an embittered man who would do anything to win. He said that the victim had the right to be heard but not believed. He said that he was enraged after the verdict and said things he wanted to apologize for. He believes the jurors were manipulated by Ms. Eazer. He stated that he has always wished the victim well and still desires a good life for him but then said that the victim bullied and manipulated his parents and brother. He said that this verdict and sentence will fix nothing, will turn his wife into a widow with a living husband, and, “It will destroy me.” He stated that there was no justice in this verdict, and that he has been slandered and his reputation destroyed. “This is not justice.” He went on to speak about the separation and limitation of powers and how he had been failed by the executive and legislative branches. He also spoke about how Prescott is a small town and subject to corruption and listed some things that were unique to AZ (the effectual elimination of the statute of limitations, unique and extreme victim’s rights, regressive minimum sentence guidelines, and jury rules designed to keep the jury in the dark). Tom claimed that he was denied due process. He asked the judge to redirect and to vote not guilty [I’m not 100% sure I got that terminology right] or give him a new trial. He asked the judge to find some way to refuse to sentence him. He asked that the judge to stop a runaway assembly line and to do what is just and free an innocent man. Tom Chantry then swore an oath under God that everything he said is truth.

At this point Judge Astrowsky allowed Ms. Eazer a chance to address the Ad Hominem attack against her. She spoke to the judge about letters written by Tedd Tripp and Rich Jensen that she had sent to him, which he acknowledged having read. She said that they (Tripp and Jensen) had seen through Tom’s actions of “smoke and mirrors” and that this is classic Tom Chantry.

Defense Attorney Stevens spoke next. He stated that Tom is a man who maintains his innocence and listed the mitigating factors (Tom’s strong family support, Karen describes a good marriage, was employed full time, was entrusted with bond, and always showed up for court). He said that Tom’s Risk Level Report was low but admitted that the psychosexual evaluation had not been done yet. He requested the minimum possible sentence.

Judge Astrowsky spoke next. He stated that the defendant was correct that the sentence won’t fix things and that anything the court imposed will be short of that. He said that the defendant was not the only person who knows the truth, that MJ, JW, and WW know the truth. He also said that Tom was not alone and defenseless. MJ was alone and defenseless when he was abused by him. He also said that Tom was right about the church and police investigations. The church council was ill equipped and should have involved the police. But, none of that diminished what happened to MJ, and MJ was not an embittered man willing to do anything to win. If MJ had made up the story, he would have made up something much more severe. He also said that it was normal to be inaccurate in fringe details after so many years. Judge Astrowsky then posed the question as to why MJ lashed out against his parents and brother and stated, “It’s because of you and what you did to him.”

Judge Astrowsky then stated that he couldn’t hold lack of remorse or repentance against Tom and didn’t hold what Tom had said against him. He went over the mitigating circumstances (defendants intelligence and education, stable personal life, long work history, no other criminal history, compliance to court orders, and his age) and the aggravating circumstances (emotional harm to the victim, how the defendant took advantage of position and authority, how the defendant manipulated the parents, that here were multiple victims, and that the defendant has devastated multiple families). Judge Astrowsky then pronounced the aforementioned sentence.

Tom Chantry will be appealing the sentence.

Note: I posted this from my phone, which (at least initially) resulted in some formatting issues. I think I have fixed them. If not, please let me know and I will try my best to fix them. I apologize if some of you are still seeing this as one long post without paragraphs.

16 thoughts on “Tom Chantry’s Sentencing

  1. Wow! Excellent note-taking! Well done! And thank you very much for sharing this with those of us who have closely followed this trial. I’ve heard over and over what a narcissist Chantry is, but until I read the unmitigated gall he displayed today…I just have no words. Truly breath-taking.

    I so much appreciate your time and effort in your article, and again, well done for taking such detailed notes.


  2. Thank you again for all your hard work following this. The ARBCA church in Vista, CA still has one of Chantry’s sermons up on Sermon Audio. I emailed them again this morning to ask them to remove it. There is no excuse for promoting Chantry’s preaching.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *Note from Cheryl Watson: I have removed the text of this post because it violated at least one of the comment rules I just posted. I’m learning as I go and appreciate your patience!


    1. Tim, I would challenge you to look at the evidence of this case and to consider it without the “ARBCA glasses” on.


    2. There was no one named Tim Fulton who was a member of CRBC. I don’t understand how Tom could be your pastor. Are you using a pseudonym?


      1. Thank you for your comment. I need to create a page with commenting rules. I never thought about it, but I should have. I don’t mind if people don’t want to use their real names, but I would prefer they would use something that makes it obvious that it’s not their name (as you have). If Tim Fulton’s comment turns out to be fake, I will delete it.


  4. Thank you Cheryl for your epic reporting! How you were able to listen and take such meticulous notes at the same time is not easy but you sure did it well!

    One question — were you able to “read” the demeanor of Chantry and his wife once the sentence was handed down? Stoic, defiant, sad?

    Thanks again!


  5. I was a couple rows in front of her, I did glance back to her several times and never saw any reactions. Also when she read her statement there was no emotion. Her voice was very clear and steady. The victims families all were very emotional on the other hand. Tom never looked at his wife when she reading her statement, he almost had his back to her, he was busy with something on the table. There seemed to be no gratitude on his part for her speaking on his behalf.
    Thank you for reporting this, you have been very accurate.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “. . . Karen Chantry is manipulated by Tom and has allowed him to punish and spank their children outside of her presence.”

    So this confirms (in case anyone doubted) that Chantry spanked his own children. One assumes that those spankings were comparable in severity and degradation to the “chastisements” he meted out to other people’s children in loco parentis.

    There’s good reason to posit that Chantry’s kids are likewise victims of abuse, even if he’s not likely to face any additional prosecution.

    How old are those children now? Let’s hope someone’s looking out for their psychological health in the wake of this trial, with their father being sent to prison and cast as a child molester–in large part for actions resembling how they were treated by him on who knows how many occasions.


  7. Thank you so much for providing this detailed first-hand account. Do you know if any news outlets reported his sentencing? Google’s not turning up any which seems strange.


    1. You’re welcome; I’m glad I was able to be of service. I too am confused by the lack of media coverage. There was a woman at the sentencing who looked like she was a reporter, but I didn’t get close enough to her to confirm that. The trials and the previous sentencing were covered by the following papers. I keep checking (search for “Chantry”), but so far only their previous coverage shows up.


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