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Belle Vernon firefighter faces harassment charges

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:33 a.m.

A Belle Vernon Borough firefighter is accused of harassing a dispatcher Friday as she worked for Mon Valley Emergency Medical Services.

Thomas Crouse, 27, of 326 Main St., Apt. 5, Belle Vernon, was charged by Monessen police with stalking-repeatedly communicating to cause fear and harassment.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Officer Rebekah Shrader was dispatched to Mon Valley EMS at 1001 Donner Ave., where she spoke to dispatcher Christina Williamson.

Williamson told Shrader she had received multiple calls from Crouse, adding she previously paid to have her cell phone number changed.

Shrader learned that Williamson had spoken Thursday to Monessen officers Dave Yuhasz and Patrick Schmidt about Crouse allegedly sending her photographs of himself lying on railroad tracks, a picture of a letter on his bed with a picture of his daughter and a letter for Williamson.

Crouse allegedly told Williamson he was going to walk to her residence in Monessen from Belle Vernon.

Williamson told Shrader that Crouse was repeatedly calling the emergency hotline at Mon Valley EMS, preventing emergency callers from accessing the line.

Williamson said she answered seven calls from Crouse. Jerry Jenko, who was also working at the time, answered three calls from Crouse.

Paramedic Terry Foster reportedly told Crouse to stop calling. Foster heard the conversations between Williamson and Crouse, according to the affidavit.

During the calls, Crouse allegedly threatened to go to Williamson's house, threatened to go to Mon Valley EMS while she was working, threatened Williamson's husband and made remarks about her child.

Shrader told Crouse the calls were being recorded and that she was going to request copies of the conversations.

Crouse will receive notification of the charges via postal summons.

Chief surprised

Belle Vernon fire Chief Richard Saxberg said he was unaware of the situation, adding he will not stand for such conduct.

“I will investigate the incident, but you can be sure that there's going to be some discipline,” Saxberg said. “I'm definitely going to deal with the situation.”

Past charges

Crouse has faced criminal charges in the past.

In September 2012, Pittsburgh police charged Crouse with three counts of disorderly conduct, simple assault, aggravated assault, criminal mischief and harassment.

In February 2013, Allegheny County Judge Donna Jo McDaniel dismissed the aggravated assault and criminal mischief charges. Crouse pleaded guilty June 3, 2013, to three counts of disorderly conduct and harassment.

On Oct. 21, 2012, Baldwin Borough police charged Crouse with harassment. He pleaded guilty June 3 to a summary count of harassment.

The two cases were adjudicated together. He was sentenced to 90 days probation , ordered to attend anger management classes and to have no contact with the victim.

Supervision was transferred to Fayette County, according to court records.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

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