Cleric Leaves Jail After Five Month Term in Tax Case
Lewisburg, Pa. — AP — A Cincinnati minister who went to jail rather than pay taxes to help finance the country’s military program, was freed from the federal prison farm at nearby Allenwood.
The Rev. Maurice F. McCrackin, known for his pacifist sentiments, served five months and four days at the farm, which is run in connection with the United States penitentiary at Lewisburg.
Specifically, he was charged with resisting payment of income taxes. He refused to pay them lest the money go towards support of the armed forces.
A small gathering of sympathizers, bearing printed signs of approval of what the clergyman did, greeted Mr. McCrackin as he was released.
“But everything was calm and peaceful,” said Warden Frank Hagan. “There was no disturbance at any time.”
The pastor said he was going back to Cincinnati. Another minister from that city, his identity undisclosed, was waiting for him with an automobile. They drove away poker faced.
Mr. McCrackin, pastor of St. Barnabas Presbyterian and Episcopol church, refused to accept the usual transportation money offered by the prison.
McCrackin wore the traditional inexpensive suit given to newly released prisoners.…
McCrackin was sentenced to a six-month term and a $250 fine in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. The charges against him were failing to answer a summons by the Internal Revenue service, which was investigating his failure to pay income tax.
With time off for good behavior, he would have been released . However, he refused to pay his fine or have it canceled by signing the pauper’s oath, and therefore had to serve an additional 30 days.
The warden said McCrackin had been assigned to clerk duties at the penitentiary and at the prison farm prior to his release.
And the next day’s Milwaukee Journal adds a quote from McCrackin to the article: “I feel as strongly as ever. I am opposed to war and I believe that people who take that stand should act accordingly.”
In a follow-up article, McCrackin lashed out against the prison labor system, calling it “slave labor” and vowing never to participate in it again if he were to be imprisoned again:
McCrackin said he worked in the kitchen most of the time he was confined at the prison farm at Allenwood, Pa., and added that he had agreed to work “this time so I could see what it was all about.”