Ex-Priest Gets 10-Year Term for Sex Abuse of Deaf Boys
By Arlo Wagner
November 20, 1996
A 38-year-old deaf man cried yesterday as he testified in sign language that a Catholic priest sexually molested him more than 20 years ago when he was at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick and the Catholic Deaf Center in Landover Hills.
The episodes of masturbation, fondling and fellatio began in 1968 in the locker room of the University of Maryland's Cole Field House and continued through a California trip four years later, the man testified.
"It wasn't right. It wasn't fair, and I still can't forget. . . . I don't think he should get any consideration," the man signed whilea translator spoke in Prince George's County Circuit Court.
Judge Stephen I. Platt called a five-minute recess as the man cried. Court resumed for testimony by the man's two deaf brothers and another deaf victim, now a university professor in physical education.
Afterward, Judge Platt sentenced William Earl Krouse IV, 50, to the maximum of six concurrent terms of 10 years in prison, going along with a plea bargain.
Krouse pleaded guilty to six counts of committing unnatural and perverted sex acts after he was arrested in March in Oakland Park, Fla., where he had worked with the deaf for eight years. He left the priesthood about 10 years ago.
Yesterday, with tears in his eyes and a catch in his voice, Krouse apologized to the three deaf brothers' family, which he called the most wonderful family he had known.
"I had no idea what this caused, and what I did hurt them," said Krouse, a tall, slender, gray-haired man with glasses. "I'm sorry. I'm truly, truly sorry, and I hope someday, deep in your hearts, you will forgive me."
Prince George's County police learned of Krouse's actions more than a year ago while they investigated similar cases that led to charges against four other Catholic priests of molesting nine boys between 1972 and 1982. One of the four priests was acquitted. The others were convicted and sentenced.
Krouse's victims said he cited biblical quotations to justify the perverted acts. They said they felt guilty and kept the acts secret, even from their parents.
"I kept it a secret, and my brothers kept it a secret," the 42-year-old brother signed, adding that his parents learned of the abuse in March when a county police detective said charges had been filed against Krouse.
"I didn't want to listen to him," signed the 40-year-old brother, but he was a priest, "a very important person, and I had to listen to him."
The man pointed at Krouse and signed, "I'm going to have nightmares my entire life."
The youngest brother said he began drinking and taking drugs to counteract the psychological trauma. He said, as a result, he has been in prison several times and has lost his home and custody of "my two beautiful children."
Under questioning by Krouse's attorney, Robert Troll, the middle brother denied that he was expelled from the Maryland School for the Deaf because of other troubles.
The physical education professor said his experiences with Krouse caused him to think he was a homosexual for many years. He said he is fearful of allowing his two children to go out with people who should be trustworthy.
"I'm afraid my children will be abused," he signed. "I can't tell my children to go out and have a good time. . . . I'm trying to raise my children in the Catholic religion."
Urging Judge Platt to impose the maximum punishment, the professor signed, "If he doesn't get the maximum sentence, he will do this again. . . . Please protect our children out there."
Prosecutor Lloyd Johnson also asked for the maximum punishment, saying that a solid case had been built against Krouse and that other sex abuses may have occurred the past 25 years.
"This defendant should not be rewarded for escaping detection for 25 years," Mr. Johnson said.
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