PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The current and former wives of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Timothy Crane asked courts in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties for protection from him.
In their Petitions for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence filed in July about one week apart, Deputy Crane was accused of abusing drugs, alcohol and his young child.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Office took away his guns and, when Crane returns from vacation, the sheriff’s office tells 8 On Your Side it plans to reassign him to a non-law enforcement position.
This follows injunctions signed by two judges prohibiting contact with his former and current spouses.
Crane was most recently the School Resource Officer at Palm Harbor Middle School.
“It’s going to be a long time before he should ever have a badge,” Crane’s wife Michelle Frome said.
Court records show Crane’s wife Michelle accusing him of physically and verbally abusing and threatening to kill his young child.
“He started screaming into his ear and threatening to hit him in the back of the head with a baseball bat so he didn’t have to hear him crying,” claimed Frome. “He is on the Crisis Response Team so as law enforcement, your job is to de-escalate situations.”
According to Frome, Crane keeps telling her nothing will happen to him.
“There was one time he said nothing will ever happen to him because if something did then it would be an opportunity for them (defense attorneys) to go back and appeal some cases that maybe he worked on before, and that would create a big mess,” Frome recalled.
So Frome told the child’s mother, Crane’s former wife Samantha, what she had witnessed.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Samantha Crane said in a shaking voice. “She had witnessed a lot of abuse that had occurred, spanking him over and over again, throwing him up against a door.”
Samantha Crane filed a petition for protection as well.
Crane’s lawyer Ben Stechschulte sent 8 On Your Side an email stating, “Deputy Crane denies all allegations and will not answer any questions.”
However, in a telephone conversation she recorded while in Georgia, Deputy Crane didn’t deny anything.
“You literally slammed his little body into a door,” Frome told Crane. “You said you’d hit him over the back of the yead with a baseball ball so you don’t have to hear him cry. You did that to your own son, what are you going to do to mine?”
“Because alcohol was the cause of that,” Deputy Crane responded.
“You weren’t drunk that night,” retorted Frome.
“Yeah, I was drunk all those occasions,” Crane stated.
According to the sheriff’s office, temporary injunctions prohibit the possession of firearms. A spokesman told 8 On Your Side until those injunctions are resolved in court and the office conducts an internal investigation, the sheriff’s office cannot speak to this.
“I think about it all the time, it’s just pain that a mom should never have to feel,” Samantha Crane added. “I just remember crying out and my son was home and he looks and he goes, ‘what’s wrong Mommy?'”
Many first responders struggle with mental health issues and self-medication because of what they are exposed to on the job. 8 On Your Side helped champion the passage of a state law expanding benefits for them.
Of special concern, in this case, is this deputy is trained in crisis intervention and currently is a school resource officer.
“There’s no way shape or form that he should ever, ever be around children anytime soon, in the condition that he’s in,” Frome added.
If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-080 or contact Steve Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org
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