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Priest is silent on claims of of abuse

Published: Tue, June 16, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Linda Linonis

The bishop of the Youngstown Diocese has spoken to two who reported sexual misconduct.

YOUNGSTOWN — Despite new allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at him, the Rev. Thomas Crum remains silent.

The Rev. John Jerek said he told Father Thomas Crum about two more allegations late last week.

“[Father Crum] has listened, but hasn’t responded,” said Father Jerek, vicar of clergy of the diocese. Father Crum remains at an undisclosed private psychiatric hospital.

Father Jerek said he talked to both victims by phone and one of them in person. He cautioned that shouldn’t imply that the victim he met with is local. He noted that the diocese covers Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull counties.

Father Jerek said Bishop George V. Murry of the diocese spoke to one of the victims by phone. Father Jerek said that the victims wanted to make the diocese aware of the allegations but neither is likely to pursue criminal complaints.

The diocese is not releasing names, ages or genders of the two alleged victims to protect their anonymity. When and where the incidents may have taken place also were not released.

Bishop Murry removed Father Crum from his pastorate at Our Lady of Peace Church in Canton a few days after the first victim came forward.

“We’re still sorting out the credibility,” said Father Jerek of the latest allegations.

Father Jerek said there are ongoing investigations by both the diocese and the Youngstown Police Department, which was informed of the latest allegations.

Youngstown police received verbal confirmation from the diocese that two other alleged victims of sexual misconduct by Father Crum have stepped forward.

Youngstown Police Capt. Kenneth Centorame said police don’t know where the latest incidents of alleged misconduct occurred. Police are continuing to investigate the first complaint and are awaiting written documentation from the diocese on the latest complaints.

So far, no victims have come to YPD to file any complaints, police said.

The Diocese of Youngstown has asked anyone who was abused by any member of the church to notify the victim assistance coordinator at (330) 744-8451 and the police.

The Vindicator contacted the 11 parishes where Father Crum has been assigned as an assistant pastor, pastor or administrator. Most declined comment, referring callers to the diocese. Those who did comment said they were angry or shocked at the allegations but were praying for the priest and his victims.

XCONTRIBUTOR: Vindicator Staff Writer Harold Gwin contributed to this report.


1Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Like most of the posters commented when this story was first posted, almost all sexual predators have more than one victim.

So I'm not surprised to hear there are now 2 additional allegations of prior abuse.

I hope the church doesn't push the victims into renewed silence; it's hard enough to tell anyone what happened, let alone to tell and feel disbelieved.

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2digitgal(11 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I'll bet if you started contacting altar boys at the 11 parishes involved, you'd find lots and lots of victims. Gee, is this why conservative priests like Fr. Crum didn't want girls as altar servers?

The real question isn't how many victims there are, but how people who may have complained over the years but were brushed aside.

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3mjf0724(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I was an alter boy at St. Peter of the fields church. Father Crum never even remotely made any advances of any kind toward anyone at that church. Go ahead and contact them, nothing would be found

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Sexual abuse is a nationwide epidemic in more places than just the Priesthood. Only through education and strong moral leadership can it be curtailed. In the Orthodox Catholic religion where Priests aren't required to be celibate one doesn't hear of such problems.

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5mjf0724(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Hey Judy Jones, do you know the difference between allegations and convictions. Nobody even knows who you are, just as most people posting don't know Father Thomas Crum. So basically, someone can make these same allegations toward you, right? Get a real job!

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6digitgal(11 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I was a member of St. Christine in the early 1980s, during which Fr. Crum was quite pally with the altar boys. Things may have certainly changed when he went to St. Peter of the Fields (for example, the pastor may have laid down a hard line) or maybe you just weren't his type.

The first charge is NOT an allegation, as the good bewigged father admitted to it. We don't know what he says about the second and third ones.

So, unless Fr. Crum is lying to when he admitted to the first charge, he is a confessed pedophile. MFJ0724 may be ready to forgive and forget, but I am not.

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7mjf0724(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

digitgal: get your facts straight, Father Tom did not admit to sexual abuse. He admitted to having relations with a minor (17 years old). At the time Father Tom would have been 26 or 27 years old. Was it wrong, yes, but abuse no. The way this is being handled is ridiculous. It is all about some stupid people wanting to get paid. Why else would a 50 year old come forward 30 years???

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8digitgal(11 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

mjf0724: how do you know that the minor was 17? The Vindicator article that first broke the story doesn't give an age: http://www.vindy.com/news/2009/jun/07...

Could it be that the student was 13 or 14?

Fr. Wiggy would have been closer to 30, I think, if he were ordained in 1975. I'm trying to find out what year he was born, but I can't. Can you help us out here?

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9mjf0724(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Father Thomas Crum was born in 1949. In 1975 he would have been 26 years old.

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10mjf0724(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Judy Jones, the guys life is already ruined. Go ahead and judge him. That is your right, and your will. Nobody knows exactly what happened 30 years ago. Go for it reach out to anyone looking for a civil suit, let them get their money and move on. When ever something like this happens, whether it was 1 time or not, so many more false alligations come out of the woodwork because of people like you. But if this is what you want to dedicate your life to, then so be it. Judge all the people you want, just remember, one day you will be judged to. I'm tired of all the negative posts, I'm tired of seeing a name drug through the mud before anyone knows the exact truth, I tired of people who don't know this man working so hard and spending so much time to ruin his life. Again, your going to continue to do whatever you feel is nessacary, and that is your decision. My judgement may be clouded because I have only known Father for 10 years, and your right I to dont know what happened 30 years ago. The only thing I know is what a good man he has been in the last 10. He was been a mentor and a friend to many people...

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11Eric(196 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I agree with mjf0724 on several points. Proof needs to be presented before anyone should act as judge, juror, and executioner. I didn't see reported anywhere where Father Crum admitted to any abuse. And we don't know how old the alleged victim was; the victim could very well have been 17 (and the age of consent in Ohio is 16, except in cases of authority figures).

There have been huge sums of money awarded to victims, and I wonder what kind of proof is really present after 30+ years, and if the Church is settling merely because they would absolutely lose in court because very few jurors would be truly unbiased with these cases.

Abusing children is a despicable crime, but destorying someone who may be innocent of the charges isn't any better. An allegation is just that...just because someone says something happened doesn't mean it actually did.

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12hellsbells(116 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Just want to remind you that priests act as teachers in Catholic schools.

In our state, teachers have their names in the paper and lose their licenses to teach for less than what has been revealed here.

If you feel sorry for Father Crum, do you also feel sorry for the young teacher in Boardman who lost his job for texting a high school student?

In the case of teachers, it wouldn't matter if the students were the same age as the teacher. It is against the law to have relations with a student, and is considered abuse because of the teacher's position of authority.

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13cheme(1 comment)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

mjf0724 - I would have to agree with digitgal!
I went to St. John's in Campbell during the time that Father Crum was there and most people knew that he was doing something with at least one of the altar boys!!!

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14ConcernedAlterBoy(1 comment)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Well, I have taken the time to review each and every post on here carefully and have decided it is time to speak my mind.

There are a whole spectrum of views out there and opinions on whether Father Crum could be guilty, and whether he should have his life ruined or not. And, in the end, I am only left with sadness for the whole situation.

It is very sad that people have to endure such traumatic events at such a young age. Yes, we don't necessarily know the facts of events that happened some 30 years ago, but we cannot dismiss the fact that Father Crum admitted to the charges.

mjf0724 claims that there is a monetary incentive behind these allegations, yet with the statute of limitations having expired, there is no hope for criminal or civil prosecution. I really believe that these individuals have finally been able to come to terms with the situation, and have finally become healed enough (if that is even possible) to step up and shed light to the atrocity that has happened.

Yes, I feel for Father Crum, as I would for any sick person. He is sick!! He has issues to deal with and will have questions to answer in the next life. So I do feel bad for him, but I don't feel he is the one who is suffering or facing the injustice. He is getting what he deserves. You do the wrong thing and you must face the consequence. I just hope he is big enough to admit to everything and then and only then can he start to make peace with God and ask for forgiveness. And whether he gets that forgiveness or not will be between him and God.

I did know Father Crum while he served at St. Christine's in Youngstown. I was there in the late 70's and in the early to mid 80's. I was also an Alter Boy for years. Did I see anything happening? No! Does that mean it wasn't going on? No!! I am not that crazy to believe that just because I never saw it or experienced it, that it must have not happened. I do know that he had his "favorites". Two, maybe three certain Alter Boys that he liked over everyone else. He used to single them out, pull them out of class to serve funerals or weddings and even spent time with them on weekends. So could something have been going on? Of course. I am just glad that he never expressed and interest in me.

Anyway, to conclude.... we should all stop arguing and casting stones, or defending, and just all come together to pray for the victims and any other victims that have not yet, or may never, come forward. This is a sad time for all the Parishes that knew Father Crum.

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