Former Milton Priest Sentenced on Child Pornography Charges

By William Rabb
Pensacola News Journal [Florida]
June 21, 2006

A former Milton priest, who spent more than two years in federal prison on drug charges, was sentenced to 10 years in state prison Tuesday on child pornography conviction.

Thomas Crandall, 51, was sentenced in Port St. Joe to five years on each of two counts of transmission of child pornography over the Internet, said Gulf County sheriff's investigator Chris Buchanan.

"He was given the maximum sentence. We're very satisfied with the outcome," said Buchanan, who led the sting operation that led to Crandall's arrest one year ago.

Crandall has been in the Gulf County Jail since his arrest about a year ago on the pornography charges, and that time will count toward his 10-year term.

Once he's released from state prison, he will face federal prison time for violating the terms of his early release on the drug charges, Buchanan said.

Known as Father Thom, Crandall was a popular priest at the 1,000-member St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Milton, where he served from 1999 until his first arrest in 2002 for distributing the illegal party drug Ecstasy.

After that arrest, church officials discovered he owned a Bourbon Street condominium in New Orleans and took expensive vacations. He also admitted to selling drugs out of the condo and from the rectory in Milton and to stealing about $100,000 from the church.

After Crandall's release on the drug charges, he moved to Mobile. There, he sent Buchanan, who was posing as a teenage boy, explicit sexual images, according to court papers.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.