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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.


1Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal abuses are acts of power over the powerless, of any age. Abusers violate babies still in diapers...pre-school and school-age children... pre-teens and teens... the mentally disabled of any age... and, abusers can even target the very frail and elderly.

Every "home" or institution has oversight by State Medicaid and Federal Medicare officials if the place receives money from these programs. Also, the State's Department of Health is involved and investigates complaints. Anyone who has a concern can report it, or can turn to a "mandated reporter" such as a hospital, doctor, nurse, police officer.

Abusers pick victims who for any number of reasons cannot communicate well, or victims who generally have an obstacle to self report the abuse. As well, abusers often threaten the victim in some way to enforce silence. When someone on the outside knows what has happened, they must step in and become an advocate to the victim who cannot report the event. *You* can report, and should report, ANY acts you believe have occurred.

Please, speak out for victims who cannot speak out for themselves. The trauma of abuse at young ages or from chronic abuse can become a lifelong trauma. Sexual abuse also "sexualizes" children and developmentally impaired adults; they can begin to "act out" sexually because their abusers violated the social and sexual boundaries we each need around our own bodies. Without boundaries, appropriate behavior becomes unclear.

Please, speak out. Report. Advocate.

Encourage children and impaired adults to "tell" if someone touches their bodies.

Teach them that they have a right to say NO and that they must tell, even if parts of the abuse felt 'good' (because our bodies are naturally hard-wired to respond to touch), even if the abuser gives them nice treats or priviledges, even if the abuser made threats to hurt them or to withhold something the victim wants or thinks he or she "needs". Abusers often have forced an incident over the smallest thing, such as giving or withholding a candy bar. Abusers know how to manipulate and how to threaten.

Don't feel intimidated about reporting---YOU may be the only "savior" and "angel of mercy" to speak up for an abused victim. Don't refuse to be the victim's only chance to get help. Take a deep breath, gather your courage and your moral and ethical beliefs, and then pick up the phone to make the report.

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2JudyJones(162 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

We applaud this brave victim for speaking up and coming forward about being sexually abused by this priest. May this persons courage enable others to come forward.

If anyone has been harmed by Fr. Crum, please contact law enforcement. It is very likely that others may have been harmed by him, he worked in so many different locations.

You can also contact SNAP for support, compassion and healing. Always remember that you are NOT alone, there are thousands who believe you.

Judy Jones, SNAP director southeastern Ohio

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3EricLW(66 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Shouldn't this guy be "removed" directly to the prison system? I hope he get's to spend some time with bubu ... Tho I really think the religion protects these people and gives them spacial treatment! How Ironic. A free pass!

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4JudyJones(162 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

"In 1994, he took a personal leave of absence at his own request, the diocese said."

Bishop Murry needs to disclose why Crum took a leave of absence and where he was located at that time.

Very often, when a priest takes a leave of absence, it is because there has been a complaint of abuse, therefore he is sent to a treatment center for a while, then put back into a parish.
Judy Jones, SNAP director southeastern Ohio

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5khuston22(1 comment)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

was a student at St Christine's along with my older eight siblings and when we read this news story all of us agreed that something with Fr. Crum was not right. I knew when I was only 8 yrs old he was creepy. It doesn't surprise us at all. Sadly. In fact years ago, when we intially heard about the other offenses in the catholic church, we thought about Fr. Crum.
If anyone has been affected by him, our prayers go out for you. Don't be afraid to tell someone.

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6dck516(25 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Let me understand, an "incident" happens 30 years ago and the accuser is just now making this public? Sounds like the Diocese of Y-town didn't offer a settlement large enough to satisfy the accuser.
Believe me, I do not condone any type of abuse but this "incident" sounds very strange.
I'm curious, did the accuser belong to "The Twelve Club." Hmmm.......

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7SnapYoungstown(2 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

SNAP is a national self-help organization of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters. We do have a local support group that meets monthly. If anyone is in need of more information feel free to contact us at snapyoungstown@sbcglobal.net or 330-398-8890 or visit our national website at snapnetwork.org.

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8Musikboy79(1 comment)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I personally know that Father Crum was an excellent pastor and the simple fact that it took 30 years for this person to come forward does raise alot of suspicion. I do not condone the actions of Father Crum, but, there was only one perfect person to walk the face of this planet and he is no longer in the physical form. I very much agree with dck516. And to the comment made by Judy Jones, what right does the bishop have to disclose why Fr. Crum took an administrative leave. And no Judy, a priest can take a leave of absence for anything, just like in an office setting. Remember everyone, these priests are still human too, just like the rest of us.

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9christymh862(1 comment)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

There are many victims involved here. Two points I would like to make: 1.) I think it's ridiculous to state that the obvious victim did something wrong to finally come forward; 2.) As a former member of the Our Lady of Peace congregation (I moved out of state to be with my husband), I know that Father Tom gave very meaningful homilies. He married my husband and me, and he helped to make it a beautiful day for us and our families. He seems like a genuinely good priest, but now the community knows that he's human too. As this kind of terrible thing becomes public, maybe we could find it within ourselves to support the victim, the hurting parish, and Father Crum's family...all by the godly act of forgiveness. Maybe we might even begin to assist Father Crum's healing process as well. I commend him for admitting his faults...most Catholics hide behind a curtain to do so.

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