Priest is silent on claims of of abuse

Vindicator, Ohio/June 16, 2009

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.

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

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