Woman Sues Parish Priest, Alleges Him of Sexual Battery

By Robert Goodrich
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)
February 6, 2002

Judy L. Hangsleben of New Baden filed a $100,000 sexual battery suit Tuesday against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville and her parish priest, the Rev. Daniel L. Friedman.

Hangsleben, 52, filed the suit in circuit court in Belleville without an attorney but said she did so with the help and advice of a lawyer in Edwardsville.

Friedman was among 10 priests and a deacon in the diocese who were accused of sexual misconduct involving children and teens in 1993 and 1994, but he was cleared and returned to active ministry.

Hangsleben's suit accuses Friedman of fondling her during counseling sessions with him on Jan. 4, Feb. 1 and Feb. 29, 2000. It says Friedman knew she had been sexually abused as a child.

Her suit says that when she resisted and protested, Friedman retaliated by barring her from serving as lector during Mass and from other parish duties.

She said she reported the matter to Bishop Wilton D. Gregory in July and he promised to investigate.

Hangsleben said that when she called back to ask the outcome, a diocesan official told her its review board for sexual misconduct allegations handled cases involving children but not matters involving priests and adult women.

Neither Gregory, Friedman nor other diocesan officials could be reached for comment Tuesday.


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