Father Thomas Cronin, accused priest, now runs a woman’s shelter
SNAP has learned that a Catholic priest, accused of molesting a girl in a pending child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit, now runs a shelter for abused women and their families. For the sake of public safety, SNAP wants Reno Bishop Randolph Calvo to force the cleric to sever all ties to the shelter. And SNAP wants Calvo to use church resources (parish bulletins, church websites, and pulpit announcements) to warn the public and parishioners about him.
The priest is Fr. Thomas J. Cronin, who lives at 143 Desert Lakes Rd. (on the edge of a golf course) in Fernley and lists the same address as the site of “Rachel’s Sanctuary,” which he evidently founded. Cronin is originally from the recently-troubled Kansas City MO diocese but has lived and worked in Nevada for roughly 15 years.
According to the suit, Cronin allegedly repeatedly raped a 17 year old girl in 1979 in western Missouri. Once he did so while another KC priest, Fr. John Tulipana, watched and masturbated.
Tulipana has been publicly accused of child sex crimes before. Cronin has not been. Neither has been defrocked (though Tulipana faces several accusers and was suspended from the priesthood in the mid-1990s.) Several suits against Tulipana have been settled, one for $150,000.
According to the 34 page suit, through confession, Cronin learned that the girl had been abused by a relative. Later, he manipulated and molested her as many as ten times. “Multiple priests and lay persons (knew) that Tulipana and Cronin were sexually abusing children, providing liquor to children and spending inordinate amounts of time with children,” the suit maintains.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and was filed in October 2010 in Jackson County Missouri Circuit Court. Three weeks after it was filed, Calvo still had not suspended Cronin, until SNAP drew public attention to the litigation and Cronin’s presence in Nevada.
Cronin has worked in Reno (St. Therese Church of the Little Flower, 1997-99), Fernley (St. Robert Bellarmine, 1999-04), Empire (St. Joseph the Worker, 1999-04), and Virginia City (St. Mary of the Mountains, 2009-10). From 1997-99, he was also a chaplain at Washoe Medical Center, now Renown Regional Medical Center, in Reno.
This weekend, Cronin and many top Nevada officials are expected to attend a special 150th celebration at St. Mary of the Mountains in Virginia City, NV (where he worked).
Cronin was ordained in 1969 and was sent to Nevada in the late 1990s. He was a realtor from 2004-09 and has claimed he is a “chaplain” for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department. A photo of Cronin is available at BishopAccountability.org/. His phone number is listed as 775 575-9500 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel’s Sanctuary’s is a tax-deductible 501(c)3 non-profit. Its board includes Tiffany and Jason Doyle (owners of The Pizza Factory in Fernley), Martha Cervantes, and Cynthia J. Luther. William Bauer is the treasurer and William A. Baker is the organization’s “registered agent.” All are apparently Fernley residents.
Cronin worked in at least four Missouri towns (Blue Springs, Hamilton, Gallatin, Higginsville, and Kansas City) and several chaplaincies (at Children’s Mercy, Truman Medical Center, Western Missouri Mental Health Center, Charlotte Extended Care Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City Dentistry School, and the University School of Medicine).
The victim is represented by Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles (816 931 9901, 816 510 2704 cell), who has handled dozens of clergy sex abuse and cover up suits. The victim in this suit, who now lives outside Missouri, repressed memory of the crimes until 2009, the suit says.