AMHERST — The mother of Jesse Crum Jr., the 3-year-old boy who died earlier this year from severe head injuries, has asked Amherst police to investigate whether the family of the boy’s father committed fraud with their fundraising efforts. Amherst police Sgt. Dan Jasinski said Thursday that Alyson Sweany filed a police report on Tuesday that accused the family of Jesse Crum Sr. of claiming to raise money for funeral and medical expenses, although no such expenses existed.
“We’re checking to see if the money’s accounted for,” Jasinski said.
He said that Jesse’s paternal grandmother, Christina Crum, has provided numerous receipts and other documentation showing where the money raised has gone.
About $900 was spent on funeral transportation, obituaries, death certificates, a morgue fee in Cuyahoga County and other items, Jasinski said the paperwork showed.
Jesse was taken to Metro-Health Medical Center in Cleveland on March 12 and died a few days later from head injuries.
Sweany, as well as Dallas and Therese Jones, the parents of Sweany’s late boyfriend, Peter Jones, have been charged with child endangering in connection with Jesse’s death. Dallas and Therese Jones are also facing charges stemming from marijuana plants found inside their Forest Hill Drive home while police were investigating Jesse’s Peter Jones hanged himself inside his parents’ home June 15, just a few days before he was set to be sentenced on child endangering charges from a January 2009 incident in which Jesse was scalded while Peter Jones was giving him a bath. Police and prosecutors have not said whether Peter Jones would have been charged in connection with Jesse’s death as well.
Those backing Sweany and the Joneses insist that Jesse was injured in an accident a few days before he was taken to the hospital. They have said he appeared normal and when he began acting strangely, they sought medical help.
Christina Crum has said that her grandson was beaten.
Carol Reinhard, Sweany’s mother, said Thursday that she doesn’t know where the Crums would have spent the money they have raised in her grandson’s name.
“I don’t know what they’re doing with the money, but I’m tired of it,” she said.
Reinhard led a protest in September outside an event the Crum family was having in downtown Amherst, which they said was a fundraiser to cover Jesse’s medical bills. She said the medical bills were handled by insurance and the Crums shouldn’t have been raising money for that.
But at the September event, Christina Crum denied she was raising money to cover medical expenses. Instead, she said described the event as a memorial dinner.
Jasinski said the documentation he’s seen doesn’t show a great deal of money raised by the Crums. He said the whole event had netted them between $300 and $400 after expenses.
He also said that a few jars that were placed around the community to raise money brought in about $40, but he added that Christina Crum told him she wasn’t certain where the jars came from.
Jasinski said he hopes to complete his investigation in the next few days.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.