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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Friday, January 16, 2009

Alleged molester, facing 3 accusers, is put back in 2 churches

SNAP wants him ousted & discloses that a new lawsuit against him is coming

Suspended for misconduct four years ago, he quietly resurfaces with no notice

Predator works at St. Cronan’s, still reeling from recent arrest of their former pastor

Group asks “How many other suspended sexually troubled priests are being quietly re-assigned?”

Two of the victims made in-person reports of abuse to Stika, who’s just been promoted to bishop

WHAT
Holding signs at a brief sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that a local priest who was suspended for sexual misconduct four years ago is now quietly
--- living at an inner city northside parish, and
--- working at an inner city southside parish (that’s already reeling because their former pastor was arrested last fall on abuse charges).

He will soon be sued for abusing another child.

They will try to hand-deliver a letter to St. Louis’ bishop, urging him to remove the priest.

WHEN
TODAY, Friday, Jan. 16, 1:00 p.m.

WHERE
On the sidewalk outside the archdiocesan headquarters, 4445 Lindell (near Taylor)

WHO
Two-three clergy abuse victims who belong to a national support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including the organization’s national director

VISUALS
A photo of the priest will be available, along with a written statement by a victim whose experiences with him led to his earlier suspension

WHY
Several days ago, SNAP learned Fr. Michael A. Freymuth lives at Visitation parish on the northside and works at St. Cronan’s on the southside. In December 2004, he was suspended by the archdiocese because of misconduct allegations. No announcement was made about that until January 2005, when SNAP disclosed the allegations in a news release.

In 2002, a young man told church staff that Freymuth molested him roughly 15 before. Msgr. Richard Stika (then archdiocese’s “point man” on abuse, now a Tennessee bishop) didn’t believe the victim.

In 2004, a second young man, Timothy J. Bartin of Columbia (573 499 9485), made an in-person report to a church panel, detailing inappropriate sexualized “grooming” behavior by Freymuth against him. Bartin was roughly 12 at the time. Freymuth gave him liquor, backrubs and showed him an “R” movie when the two were alone in a bedroom. Bartin’s disclosure, church officials said, led to Freymuth’s suspension.

Later in 2005, a third young man reported in person to several archdiocesan staff (including Stika) that he was sexually abused by Freymuth in the 1980s (Years earlier, his mom made a similar report to a church staffer while the boy was in high school.) That young man plans to soon file a civil child molestation lawsuit against Freymuth. (No civil lawsuits against Freymuth have been filed yet.)

At the time of his 2004 suspension, Freymuth was a chaplain at Cardinal Ritter Prep (701 N. Spring Avenue, 446-5500) in St. Louis. He has also worked at four southside parishes (Sts. Mary and Joseph, St. Joan of Arc, St. Gabriel the Archangel, and Holy Family) and one northside parish (St. Elizabeth). All but one of the parishes (Sts. Mary and Joseph) have elementary schools.

At least two parishioners have told SNAP recently that Freymuth is working part time at St. Cronan’s, where former pastor Fr. Joseph Ross was arrested in October for molesting a child in 2000.

SNAP believes Freymuth’s quiet re-instatement is reckless and violates the US bishops’ sex abuse policy which mandates ‘openness and transparency’ in child sex cases.

CONTACT
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Coordinator (314) 503-0003 cell


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
 


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