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Former Mooney, Boardman priest removed over abuse allegation

Published: Sun, June 7, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

The allegation came to the bishop’s attention last week.


YOUNGSTOWN — A priest who once served on the faculty of Cardinal Mooney High School has resigned from his Canton parish over an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Youngstown diocese said Saturday that Bishop George V. Murry has placed the Rev. Thomas Crum on administrative leave over the allegation of abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago.

The allegation surfaced last week, said the Rev. John Jerek, spokesman for the diocese. He said the bishop met with “the person who’d been abused.” He would not give more information about whether the person was a man or a woman, or whether the person had been a student at Mooney. He also said that he couldn’t confirm if the episode even took place at Mooney. He said he didn’t want to comment too much, citing an ongoing investigation by Youngstown police. No charges have been filed yet.

Father Crum admitted the allegation to church authorities and resigned immediately as pastor of Our Lady of Peace parish, the diocese said.

“He cannot publicly celebrate the sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself as a priest in good standing,” the diocese said in a prepared statement.

Father Jerek said Father Crum is still a priest, but he could be defrocked later as the investigation continues.

The Rev. Lewis Gaetano has replaced Father Crum in Canton as a temporary administrator, Father Jerek said.

Father Crum has moved out of the parish house and is in a psychological treatment center, he said.

The Diocesan Review Board, an independent, predominantly lay panel, was advised and supported the bishop’s decision to immediately remove Father Crum from ministry, the diocese said.

The board reviews allegations of abuse and advises the bishop, Father Jerek said.

He said there were no other priests or minors involved in the case. He said this is the first complaint against Father Crum that the diocese has had.

The diocese said Father Crum has been one of its priests since 1975. His assignments have included: assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Massillon, 1975; Mooney faculty, 1975-77; assistant pastor at St. James Parish, Warren, and St. John the Baptist Parish in Campbell, 1977-79; assistant pastor at St. Christine Parish here, 1979-85; assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Ravenna, 1985-88; pastor at St. Mary Parish in Orwell, 1988-91; assistant pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Youngstown, 1991-92; pastor at St. Anthony Parish, Canton, 1992-94.

In 1994, he took a personal leave of absence at his own request, the diocese said. He returned as assistant pastor at St. Charles Parish in Boardman, 1997-99; then went on to pastor at St. Peter Parish in Rootstown, 1999-2005; and as administrator, then pastor at Our lady of Peace Parish, 2005.

According to Vindicator files, Father Crum is a graduate of Central Catholic High School in Louisville, Ohio (between Alliance and Canton); Walsh College in Canton; and Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, where he earned a master of divinity degree. He was ordained June 7, 1975, in St. Columba Cathedral here.

He also taught at Central Catholic High while serving as a deacon in St. Mary’s in Massillon, and also served as a counselor for Canton YMCA and as a chaplain at Fort Scott in Cincinnati.

The diocese is encouraging anyone who may have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated with the church to contact the diocesan victim’s assistance coordinator at (330) 744-8451 and to notify the police.

“The Diocese of Youngstown continues to be committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse,” Bishop Murry said, adding, “I am deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to actions of some members of the clergy, because nothing is more important than protecting our children.

The diocesan Child Protection Policy can be read at the diocesan Web site, www.cathdoy.org.

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