Former Local Priest Defrocked
Police Hope to Question Victim

By Darcie Loreno
Tribune Chronicle
June 9, 2009

YOUNGSTOWN - No charges have been filed against the Rev. Thomas Crum since allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor some 30 years ago emerged publicly this weekend.

The incident is to have occurred in the 1970s during the priest's tenure at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown.

But after a male victim reported the misconduct to the Catholic Diocese of Youngs-town on May 29, the investigation was turned over to Youngstown Police Department, which is attempting to sort out the claims and locate the victim for interviews.

"We don't have a lot of specifics," said Youngstown Chief Jimmy Hughes. "We're making attempts to interview (the victim) and see where we can go from there as to possible criminal charges."

Crum, who has served in several parishes in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, was placed on administrative leave after the reported "credible allegation" of misconduct, according to the diocese. Crum, who was serving as pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Canton, admitted to the allegation and resigned, according to the diocese.

The Rev. John Jerek, diocese spokesperson, said the diocese could not release information on the age of the victim at the time of the incident or any other specific details. Hughes said the man no longer lives in the Youngs-town area.

Crum could not be reached for comment. Jerek said he is in a residential psychological treatment facility, but would not say where.

The Youngstown police chief said Monday the department was working to locate the victim for a witness interview, but also had mixed information on whether he would be willing talk to police.

"There's a lot of confidentiality with the diocese," Hughes said. "We don't know where that's going to stop."

Crum has been a priest in the diocese since 1975. In the Mahoning Valley, he worked at Cardinal Mooney High School from 1975 to 1977 and as assistant pastor at St. James Parish in Warren and St. John the Baptist Parish in Campbell from 1977 to 1979. He's also worked assignments at St. Christine Parish in Youngstown, Immaculate Conception Parish in Ravenna and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Youngstown.

Most recently, he worked at St. Peter Parish in Rootstown from 1999 to 2005. A message left for the Rev. David Misbrener at St. Peter Parish on Monday was not immediately returned.

Crum also worked as assistant pastor at St. Charles Parish in Boardman from 1997 to 1999. Pastor Philip Rogers there said Monday not many current staff knew Crum.

"We don't really have any reaction other than what came from the diocese," he said.

Jerek said Crum's activities through the years have mainly been routine parish assignments. The diocese has received much feedback from members since the announcement over the weekend, he said.

"Folks have called in to express both their regret of the situation and their appreciation of his ministry," Jerek said. "The reaction has been all over the board."



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