Victim of sex abuse claims Salvation Army cover-up

MANHATTAN — A victim of alleged sexual abuse is accusing The Salvation Army of covering it all up.

Nicole Sprout says she grew up in a troubled home before Gary and Carol Beth Crowell -- both commanding officers with the Salvation Army in East Northport at the time -- took her in. She alleges that Gary Crowell, a man she says was a father figure to her, sexually abused and raped Sprout from the ages of 13 and 16.

"It happened too many times to count," Sprout claimed. "He raped me on a regular basis two to three times a week."

Sprout alleges that, years later, Crowell admitted what he had done when she contacted him via Facebook and apologized, but asked her never to speak of it to anyone again.

She adds that she had told someone when she was 16. "I reported this to Salvation Army officials, to trusted adults, and I trusted them at that age to do the right thing."

However, she says that while the alleged abuse was acknowledged by several adults and high-ranking members in the Salvation Army, nothing was ever done. "People don't know what to do, and it's easier to look away, and I understand that, but again, this was a child," she said. "I was a 13-year-old kid that deserved protection."

Both the Salvation Army and Crowell have not responded to PIX11's request for comment.

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