AMHERST – The deep divide between family and friends of the parents of Jesse Crum Jr. manifested itself again Saturday evening during a 45-minute protest that saw some tense moments between the mother and supporters of Alyson Sweany, and people attending an event for the dead child’s father at the Amherst Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.
For 45 minutes, half a dozen protesters, led by Sweany’s mother, Carol Reinhard, held signs and umbrellas in a steady downpour. During that time, eight to 10 young men exited the VFW hall on the opposite side of Cleveland Avenue to yell taunts and obscenities.
One or two of the people with Reinhard began to step close to the edge of the curb to respond to those attending the Crum family event but were reminded by Reinhard to remain where they were and not do anything to antagonize those across the street.
“How dare they slander my daughter,” Reinhard said. “She was the best mother in the world. She never abused him and would never allow anyone to abuse him.”
Just then a number of young men attending the event, which was sponsored by the family of the boy’s father, Jesse Crum Sr., came outside of the VFW hall and cursed Reinhard and her group. “Get a f—— life! Nobody killed a f—— kid!”
Another woman from the Crum camp shouted “God will take care of you! I don’t have to raise my hand to you!”
Members of Reinhard’s small band countered with a chant of “shame on you … shame on you … shame on you.”
The remarks served to underscore the ongoing dispute by both sides regarding the exact injuries that befell Jesse, and the circumstances under which they occurred.
The Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office ruled that Jesse’s death in March was the result of blunt head trauma, brain hemorrhages and pneumonia. The coroner ruled the boy’s injuries were due to violence of undetermined origin.
Authorities have shed little light on those aspects of the case.
Saturday’s protest marked the latest episode in the case. On Friday, Dallas and Therese Jones, parents of the late Peter Jones, the boyfriend of Jesse’s mother, Alyson Sweany, were arrested on indictments for multiple counts of endangering children and one count each of illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Jesse’s mother, Alyson Sweany, pled not guilty to multiple counts of endangering children last week after being indicted on the charges. “They’re a good family, and bad things happen to good people,” Retha Carey said as she stared across the street at people entering the VFW hall. “That family over there never did anything for that baby.”
Christina Crum, mother of the child’s father, again asserted her grandson was beaten because the bruises she said were all over his body could only be explained by abuse. “The cops, doctors, and grand jurors have all said Alyson and Peter Jones are guilty.”
Reinhard maintains Jesse Crum Jr. died from injuries resulting from a blood disorder, and items including a laptop falling on him when he climbed on a bookcase in the home of Dallas and Therese Jones, parents of Sweany’s late boyfriend, Peter Jones.
“We grieve his loss every day,” Reinhard said. “He was an energetic, bright, loving little boy.”
Reinhard’s supporters also voiced anger over the VFW event as a fundraiser by Jesse Crum Sr.’s family for the child’s medical bills. “I’m just tired of it,” Reinhard said. “My daughter had insurance. She paid for every bit of his expenses.”
Christina Crum said she has never had any beef over her grandson’s medical bills and denied the gathering was a fundraising event. “We have never said anything about medical expenses.”
“It’s pathetic what they’re doing,” Crum added. “This is a memorial dinner for family and friends. It’s a celebration of life, nothing more. I don’t understand their hatred for my family.”
“Carol Sweany (Reinhard) better get her own attorney because more charges are coming,” Christina Crum said.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.