The Jersey Journal
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
Mark Crawford says he felt like a prisoner.
Crawford grew up on Lexington Avenue in Bayonne, blocks from St. Andrew the Apostle Church, where his family worshipped. When he was in seventh grade, the congregation welcomed a new priest: the Rev. Ken Martin.
Martin quickly befriended Crawford’s large, devoutly Catholic family, according to Crawford.
“He took a very keen interest in me,” he said. “Showered me with gifts.”
The relationship grew. Martin was a railroad enthusiast and had a large model train in the rectory, which fascinated the train-obsessed Crawford. With Crawford’s parents’ permission, the two went on a month-long trip — partly by train — to Colorado in August 1976 when he was 13 years old. …
Like Crawford, Rennar — whose legal name is Keith Brennan — was also raised in a “devoutly Catholic” household, he said.
The family, who lived on Neptune Avenue in Jersey City, attended nearby St. Paul’s. Rennar joined the church’s folk group in his early teens. The musical director was a 17-year-old named Keith Pecklers.
“He pretty much singled me out at some point,” Rennar said. The abuse began in 1976, when Rennar was 14 and Pecklers had just turned 18, he said. It went on for about a year, until Rennar confided in the church deacon, Tom Stamford, Rennar said. …
Pecklers, now a prominent Jesuit scholar, did not respond to an email requesting comment. As with Martin, The Jersey Journal attempted to contact Stamford, to no avail.
The Archdiocese of Newark declined to comment on Crawford’s and Rennar’s allegations.
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