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Adding Information to Priest's Removal

June 16, 2002

Re "Ex-O.C. Priest Is Removed," May 28:

It was with great interest and surprise that I read your article on the resignation of Father Gus Krumm from active parochial ministry at Ascension parish in Portland, Ore. Unfortunately, several relevant facts were not stated.

First, the article said "officials from the Franciscan order did not return phone calls." This may have been factually true, but when one calls an office on Memorial Day, is it realistic to expect an answer? Later on Memorial Day, The Times did call my residence, but the reporter left neither his name nor a return phone number. A pity, really, as I would have loved to help him with this story.

As to the situation around Father Krumm, there was an allegation about him from the early 1990s in connection with his tenure at St. Anthony's Junior Seminary in Santa Barbara. This incident was fully investigated twice and found to be unsubstantiated. Subsequently, Father Krumm served at Saints Simon and Jude Parish in Huntington Beach and then at Ascension Parish in Portland. There have been no complaints, allegations or reports of sexual misconduct about Father Krumm at either of these parishes.

Since the mid-1990s, the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara has used a rather extensive system that allows anyone to use a toll-free number to report incidents to an Independent Response Team. The team is composed of professional therapists and provides therapy and care to victims and a rigorous system of treatment with internal and external monitors to accused perpetrators. This system also complies with laws mandating the reporting of cases to the police.

To date, no calls have been received regarding Father Krumm. Last Tuesday, however, he reported incidents unrelated to this earlier accusation. Based upon this new information, the provincial relieved Father Krumm of active ministry and is having him undergo treatment under the IRT. The province has acted in the past and in the present based upon available information to protect the people of God and our brother.

As a Franciscan, I am saddened by past incidents of sexual abuse because of the damage done to the innocent. We are called to live as witnesses of Jesus Christ's peace and reconciliation in a world full of senseless violence. Nonetheless, I am very proud of how the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara has dedicated substantial resources to assisting the healing of victims as well as treatment and monitoring to those accused. The IRT Web site is www.responseteam.org.

John Kiesler, OFM

Berkeley

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