Beast Priest Booted out

By Gerard McManus
Herald Sun [Australia]
June 1, 2003

RANDY cleric George Crombie has been defrocked by the Uniting Church.

The minister who indulged in sexual liaisons with two dozen female parishioners has been kicked out for what the church calls a betrayal of trust.

The decision ends Crombie's fight to save his job.

Though the church had stood him down when the allegations were revealed by the Sunday Herald Sun, he remained on full pay and enjoyed other perks such as a car, phone and book allowance until last week.

The Uniting Church's discipline committee this week found a group of women's complaints against Crombie proven.

Acting Moderator of the Uniting Church, the Rev Pam Kerr, said Crombie had betrayed his church and his parishioners.

"We deeply regret the hurt caused to all those affected by Mr Crombie's actions, particularly the women involved and the congregations and groups with whom he has worked," Ms Kerr said in a statement. "By Uniting Church standards, we deem he had betrayed the trust placed in him."

Despite written testimonies to the Uniting Church Synod from his female victims describing his lies and deceit, Crombie fought attempts to defrock him.

Since the Sunday Herald Sun told of his busy love life, more women have come forward.

After two divorces, Crombie enjoyed long-term sexual relationships with at least four women at the same time.

All four believed there was no-one else. Some women even left their husbands to be with him.

One woman who had a relationship with Crombie for a decade was unaware there were other women in his life.

The woman said she had been humiliated and hurt after learning of the pastor's multiple relationships.

"He spun multi-layered, complex lies and he fed me those lies over a decade," she said. "It was the lure of the cloth, the lure of the church.

"He used to say: 'Trust me, I'm a minister'. Words were his tools and he used them to great effect."

Among the elaborate stories Crombie told were that he was a courier who worked part-time as a minister, and that he lived in Broadmeadows with his "demented" mother.

"He had all these excuses why he had to be away: Friday night it was youth group, Saturday night he had to write his sermon," she said.

Crombie is also a bail justice and a member of Glen Waverley Rotary Club.

Candles, wine and music were his methods of seduction, and several women said he won them over with his voice, calling them "my love" and other terms of endearment.

According to one woman, Crombie once bragged he had sex with one woman in every room of the manse in High Street Rd, Mt Waverley, in which he lived at the time.

Mr Crombie's lawyer, Andrew Goddard, of Goddard and Elliot, said he could not comment on any allegations.

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