Notorious Abuser Added to Diocese of Steubenville List, SNAP Calls for Secular Intervention
Years after being removed from active ministry and decades after he was first reported as an abuser, Church officials from the Diocese of Steubenville have finally deigned to add Msgr. Mark Froehlich to their list of "credibly accused" priests. This action - far too little and far too late - is still an important step forward in ensuring parents and the public are able to keep their children and loved ones away from a dangerous serial perpetrator.
The decision to list Msgr. Froehlich was done quietly, with little public notice and only a two paragraph explanation in the Diocesan newspaper. We are not surprised, as Catholic officials are often loud in their defense of accused men, but quiet when it comes time to publicly acknowledge their wrongdoing. Given this cleric's long work history and wide-spread assignments, we have no doubt that the diaspora of his victims is broader than we currently know.
Over the course of his career, Msgr. Froehlich worked at St. Joseph School in Ironton, OH; Guernsey Catholic in Cambridge, OH; St. John Central in Bellaire, OH; and Bridgeport Catholic Schools in Bridgeport, OH; in addition to dozens of parish assignments. The priest has reportedly been accused of victimizing children at every single school where he worked, but according to at least one victim who went public, those who spoke up against him were blamed for their own abuse by other clergy and Church staffers.
We applaud these brave victims who have stood up against harassment and hate to ensure their stories would be told and that other children would be protected. Absent these courageous survivors, it is hard to imagine that any truth would have come from the Diocese of Steubenville. Thanks to them, we believe children in Steubenville are safer than they would have been if information had only come from the Church.
Catholic officials responsible for Msgr. Froehlich dragged their feet and did the absolute bare minimum regarding the accusations against him for years. We can only wonder how many other victims of Steubenville priests were shamed, blamed, and intimidated into silence. We know that this question can only be answered by a fully-empowered, secular investigation by Ohio’s attorney general. We hope that parents and parishioners throughout the state will join us in calling for this action and demanding that their elected officials use their power and prominence to ensure children are protected and that parents and parishioners are informed. Church officials will not do this themselves, as this case clearly demonstrates.
Judy Block Jones, SNAP Midwest Leader ([email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)