Croddy

Another woman alleging she was molested by Donald Croddy stepped forward last week. She claims she was encouraged to stay at the Croddy household by Temple Baptist Church Pastor Mike Holloway post 1991.

Jamie, allowing the Perspective to publish her first name, spoke last week after she said she read the account of Dawn Price, who previously alleged she was molested by her father, Donald D. Croddy, at a young age. According to Jamie, now 36 years old and a Kokomo resident, reading Price’s story brought back memories of her own alleged run in with Croddy.

“I saw Don Croddy’s name,” said Jamie. “Everything just kind of hit me. From 1992 to 1994 I was staying at his house on the weekends because the Holloways and (the Croddys) and my mom thought, because I wanted to be a member of the church, they just thought that would be a good way because I would need to be attending church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday afternoon, and any other time they requested me to be there … The Croddys were generous enough to do it. My mom was OK with it because they were a nice church family.”

According to Jamie, while staying with the Croddys off and on for that two-year period, she was allowed to sleep in a small room on the main floor of the Croddy household. She described details about the room – such as its hardwood floor, off-white color, twin bed, and location within the house – in a manner that matched a separate description by Price. It’s these details that Price said struck her, as the pair had not met prior to last week, while Jamie was making a report at the Kokomo Police Department.

“At the police station she was describing the inside of the house,” said Price. “I didn’t tell her. You walk in, there’s the living room, and then there’s this little room off to the side. That was … you don’t know the layout of a house unless you have been in it.”

The pair claim to have never met before, with Jamie reaching out to Price via social media last week. She allegedly stayed at the Croddy household after 1991, the year Price, her then-fiancé Andy Thornton, Croddy, and Holloway participated in an argument where Price and Thornton revealed Croddy’s alleged sexual abuse of his adopted daughter. This resulted in the cancellation of the couple’s wedding, which was to be held at Temple Baptist Church, and they then moved out of state. The church previously claimed Croddy was removed from children and youth programs as a result.

Jamie said that while she was staying with the Croddys, Price’s father made inappropriate advances on her. This, she said, included forced touching.

“He would forcibly hug me. He would like grab me, and hug me, and smoosh my chest into him,” said Jamie. “He would then lower his hand onto my thigh and butt and not let me go.”

Jamie also alleges Croddy would attempt to walk in on her as she changed at their house.

The situation, Jamie claimed, reached a head when she awoke one night with Price’s father allegedly in the twin bed she slept in at the Croddy household on Judson Road.

“He came in there in the middle of the night,” said Jamie. “I wore nightgowns, you know really long ones that had the buttons. I woke up with his hand in my shirt … and I screamed. He told his wife I just had a nightmare.”

It’s at that point, she said, she requested to meet with Holloway. At the time, she said she would have been between the ages of 12 and 14. According to Jamie, she said she told Holloway and his wife about what allegedly was  going on at the Croddy household.

“I felt uncomfortable. I talked to Mike Holloway and his wife because you were never allowed to talk with him alone,” said Jamie. “That was just the rule of church. You weren’t supposed to be with boys alone. Matter of fact, you had to sit a Bible length away in a pew from a boy.

"I told them about some of these things because there were also times (Croddy) would open the door when he knew I was getting undressed. I was pretty much told I wasn’t being a good enough Christian.”

Afterward, Jamie said she never told anyone about her experiences, including her then-single mother. After riding the church’s buses to services since 1985, beginning at the age of 5, Jamie said she stopped attending Temple Baptist Church.

While the allegations Jamie made concern events from more than two decades ago, she said she reached out to Price to speak out about her experiences because she wanted to allegedly empower her daughter, who she said was a victim of sexual abuse at a young age.

“I want him to stop touching little girls,” said Jamie. “I pretty much forgot all about this. I just thought I did something wrong. To be honest, I have a 14-year-old daughter who was raped and molested by my stepson who is scared to talk. If I can’t do this, how can I expect her to?”

Jamie’s deceased mother’s long-time boyfriend stated in an interview that he remembered an individual he identified as Croddy after viewing a photograph, picking up Jamie occasionally at her mother’s home. Jamie’s mother could not be interviewed because she had recently passed away.

Allegations

Jamie’s decision to speak makes her the fourth woman to claim she was molested by Croddy at young age.

She is the first, however, to claim her ordeal occurred after Price left Kokomo in 1991.

When asked about Jamie’s experience, the leadership of Temple Baptist Church denied the allegation. Because of Jamie’s decision to withhold her last name, the Perspective could not provide a last name to the church because of the nature of her alleged ordeal.

“Without a last name, we cannot provide facts pertaining to a certain member of the church and what interactions this individual may or may not have had with Pastor Holloway,” said Jim Willoughby, an associate pastor at Temple Baptist Church.

“However, the church can state with absolute certainty that Pastor Holloway never encouraged any children to stay at the Croddy home after accusations made by Price in 1991. Additionally, if any church member – child or adult – were to come to the church and claim inappropriate behavior against them, the claim would receive immediate and thorough review by church leadership, including Pastor Holloway. Temple Baptist Church does not and has never tolerated sexual abuse.”

Additionally, the church called into question why Holloway would allow a child to stay with the Croddy’s given the testimony of Mary Bell, who previously stated that she was warned by the pastor to keep her children out of the Croddy household.

“Unfortunately, it seems the newspaper is now considering publication of a single individual’s claim of wrongdoing by the church,” said Willoughby. “As we state below, accusations from a person you identify as ‘Jamie’ are without merit and also contradict information provided in your first article stating Pastor Holloway informed church member Mary Bell about accusations against Croddy in 1997. Pastor Holloway did indeed feel obligated to tell Bell, who has two teenage daughters, that Croddy once was accused of molestation and as a precaution was restricted from children and youth programs.”

Croddy’s removal

In a previous response to articles published by the Perspective, Holloway had made a statement via the church’s social media page claiming that Croddy had been removed from children and youth programs since 1991.

Some have called that claim into question, including former faculty of the church’s daycare and school, Temple Baptist Academy, as well as previous attendees of the school and church.

One repeated claim made by multiple individuals was that Croddy was a fixture during certain events involving children. Most notably, sources claim Croddy was charged with operating a hay ride during a church festival held in the fall.

Kathy Lewis, who attended the school and church from 1991 to 1999, was among those making the claim.

“They had him at the fall festival every year, and Mr. Croddy would drive the tractor. And all the kids in the church rode on that,” said Lewis.

She noted the event predominantly was meant for children, but adults did ride on the hayride occasionally.

Matt Vieke, who attended the church from the time he was born in 1979 until about 2004, similarly alleged Croddy’s involvement in the festival hayrides.

“Normally in the fall, all through the year, every Saturday the church would have youth group events going and doing whatever,” said Vieke. “And several years they would do a hayride just for the teenagers of the church, and he would donate the tractor, donate the straw or hay, the trailer, and just drive everybody around.”

The church said Croddy was allowed to participate in such activities but was never alone with children.

“Following the Christian Law Association’s (CLA) recommendation, Croddy was restricted from all children’s ministries in 1991,” said Willoughby. “These ministries consist of official leadership positions over children, and Croddy was removed from all such leadership positions at that time.

“However, Croddy was still a church member during this time, and like all church members, he was amongst children in a family setting, including during church services, activities, and events. The key difference is that Croddy, as a church member only, was not permitted to lead children or to be alone with children at any time during church-related activities.

“Given a lack of evidence at the time, including a denial by Croddy of Dawn Price’s allegations and no action taken by Child Protective Services (CPS) despite investigations, this was the most aggressive action that could be taken without exposing the church to potential legal action.”

Since Price posted a video to Facebook in February making her allegations against her father, Holloway previously stated Croddy had been asked to resign from the church.

Others make similar claims about Croddy being around children after 1991.

Tabitha Dodd, a former teacher at the church’s school, maintained that Croddy commonly would be on the grounds during school and daycare hours post 1991.

“Being in the daycare staff, he mowed,” said Dodd. “He loves John Deere tractors and stuff like that. So, when the kids would be outside playing, he would wave to the kids. He’d want the kids to come out and do that, interacting with the kids, stuff like that in general. It’s not like he’d come down and play with the kids. He was still around kids in general.”

Willoughby, however, maintained that Croddy would not have been near the children as he worked.

“The claim that Croddy would interact with daycare children while mowing is, again, easily disproven when considering the facts,” said Willoughby. “While Croddy has not assisted with mowing for years, when he did mow, he used a large tractor mower only and would not have been within 100 feet of the daycare playground during any point in time.”

This claim, however, is refuted by the claims of another source who used to work in various capacities within the school and daycare. This source also claimed that Croddy would enter the building during daycare hours when she worked there in 2009. This source opted to remain anonymous, but her previous employment with the church was verified through other individuals.

“When he would mow, the kids would be so excited and amped up that Brother Don is mowing,” said the former employee. “So, we would take all the kids out there to a little fenced in area on the side of the church and watch him mow. He would come by and stick out his hand and everybody would give him a high five. Or, he would come down through the daycare and say hello to his little buddies. There were like four different windows. He would come up to each door and say hi to everybody, and then he would go on his way.”

Willoughby also said that Croddy entering the church during daycare hours would have been against church policy.

“These claims are contrary to the long-established policies of our daycare program,” said Willoughby. “At no time would Croddy have been allowed in the daycare facility. If he did enter the facility, it would have been the teachers’ and daycare workers’ responsibility to inform church leadership of this policy violation. No such reports were ever made.

“The church is very strict on daycare policies, to the point that even routine maintenance must be performed after hours when the facility is vacant.”

Others claim to have been alone with Croddy during church functions directed at teens after 1991.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous and attended both the Temple Baptist Church and school, said she remembered riding in Croddy’s van multiple times between the years of 1992 and 1995 for an activity called “soul winning” with other members of the church’s youth group.

“I know he was there on youth activities and soul winning,” said the woman. “I would even testify under oath to that.”

The church, however, argued this claim as well.

“The church maintains a list of drivers approved to operate church vehicles,” said Willoughby. “Croddy was not an approved driver, and, therefore, he would not have been authorized to operate any church vehicles. Obviously, we cannot account for every vehicle operation during the past 25 years, but we can confirm the church had no knowledge of Croddy ever serving in this role beyond 1991.”

This is a developing story, and the Kokomo Perspective will continue to follow it.