Jury selection begins for trial of pastor charged with child molestation
Trial may last up to four weeks
CAMP VERDE The trial of a former pastor charged with multiple counts of child molestation began jury selection at the Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde Tuesday, July 24. The trial may last up to four weeks.
Thomas J. Chantry appeared out of custody this week. Victim representatives were also present in the courtroom.
Chantry, 47, was indicted on five counts of child molestation and three aggravated assault charges by the Yavapai County Superior Court. He is accused of committing these offenses more than 20 years ago while he worked as a pastor at Miller Valley Baptist Church in Prescott.
Chantry left Prescott 10 years ago and became a pastor in Wisconsin. He was arrested in 2016 and extradited back to Arizona. Since then, his trial has been rescheduled and canceled multiple times.
Judge Bradley Astrowsky, a visiting judge from Maricopa County, is the presiding judge for the case.
Early stages of jury selection began Tuesday with a pool of 133 potential jurors. The jurors will remain innominate throughout the trial.
Astrowski divided potential jurors into two groups to begin the selection process with a series of questions.
The subject of the questions included jurors relationship with law enforcement, experience with sexual assault and familiarity with the global reckoning known as the #MeToo movement, a hashtag spread on social media empowering victims of sexual assault and harassment to come forward with their stories.
Only one juror signaled unfamiliarity with the #MeToo movement.