All Aboard the Pedo-Train!

Father Gus Krumm officiated over Mass at St. Simon and Jude from 1988 to 1998. He arrived at the Huntington Beach parish thanks to a previous association with then-Bishop Norman McFarland, who oversaw Krumm at the Diocese of Reno when McFarland was bishop there during the early 1980s. McFarland accepted Krumm into the Reno diocese shortly after Krumm sexually molested a boy in California.

If this scenario sounds familiar, it's because it is. A recent Weeklyinvestigation has identified Krumm as the second pedo-priest whom McFarland allowed to serve in county parishes despite knowing of the molester's crimes while both served in Reno in the early 1980s.

In 1982, McFarland—then the bishop of the Diocese of Reno—accepted Krumm from St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara shortly after Krumm was accused of molesting a boy there. McFarland had Krumm placed at St. James the Apostle Church in Las Vegas, where he stayed until 1985. Krumm wasn't associated with a parish again until 1988, when McFarland—by now bishop at the Orange Diocese—shuffled Krumm over to St. Simon and Jude.

Krumm's journey to Orange County via the Diocese of Reno eerily coincides with that of Father Jerome Henson. As the Weekly previously reported ["Must-See TV Producer," Dec. 12, 2003], McFarland, as Reno's bishop, accepted Henson from the Diocese of Sacramento in 1981 after police there caught Henson in flagrante delicto with a 13-year-old boy in a graveyard. This boneyard tryst did not stop McFarland from receiving Henson just five days after the incident, nor did it dissuade McFarland in 1984 from shipping Henson down to Orange County, where McFarland would join him two years later. Krumm joined the two in 1988.

No one has ever accused either Henson—whom diocesan officials removed in 2002 from duty after his victim filed a lawsuit—or Krumm of molesting children when each served at the Orange diocese. But the Henson and Krumm matters represent another dent to the legacy of McFarland, who retired in 1998 amid goodwill from parishioners and the press alike. And it seemingly perjures testimony that McFarland gave under oath in 2001 for DiMaria vs. Harris, the landmark case that forced the Diocese of Orange to pay $5.2 million to a student sexually molested by Michael Harris, the former principal at Mater Dei and Santa Margarita Catholic high schools.

In the deposition, Costa Mesa-based attorney John Manly asked McFarland if he ever knew of child molesters roaming the Orange diocese. McFarland could only name one: Andrew Christian Andersen, who pleaded guilty in 1986 to 26 counts of molesting four boys.

"So, as I understand," Manly continued, "with the exception of Father Andersen . . . no other priest in the Diocese of Orange as long as you were a [bishop] there was—no request was made to . . . remove the priest from the clerical state [for sexual-molestation allegations] except for Father Andersen, correct?"

"Other than Andersen, no other," McFarland responded quite confidently.

McFarland couldn't be reached for comment, and the Orange diocese's current spokesman, Father Joe Fenton, no longer returns the Weekly'scalls. But Fenton defended McFarland's inaction on Henson in a December interview, claiming McFarland never knew of any allegations and putting the onus of discovery on an offending priest's former parish. "If [an] allegation originated in one diocese, that diocese is responsible for clearing up the allegation," Fenton said at the time. "They must disclose from one diocese to another any allegation."

Fenton's analysis implicates McFarland triply, then. Not only did McFarland previously host Krumm in Reno, but Krumm was also one of 11 friars implicated in 1993 by an independent review board of sexually abusing 34 boys at St. Anthony's seminary during the 1970s and 1980s, a case that received national attention. Yet McFarland kept Krumm. In 1996, Krumm's former superior at St. Anthony's Seminary met with McFarland and alerted him about Krumm's child-molesting past. Yet McFarland kept Krumm. And McFarland kept Krumm even after one of his victims, Ignacio Aceves, wrote an Oct. 21, 1996, letter to McFarland alerting the diocese that he had recently settled a sex-abuse settlement against Krumm. "I am writing to you," Aceves shared with McFarland, "because I am afraid that [Krumm] will do the same to other boys."

McFarland finally responded—two years later. In one of his last actions before retiring as Orange bishop, McFarland shipped Krumm off to Portland, Oregon. But it was Krumm, not McFarland, who eventually admitted his pederast inclination to Portland diocesan officials. To their credit, the Portland archdiocese—which announced its bankruptcy three weeks ago—removed him from Ascension Catholic Church in 2002 and sent him to Sacramento, Henson's former haunt. And thus, this pedo-train's particular route is complete.


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