St. Louis priest removed from duties after allegations of impropriety

Associated Press
January 1, 2005

St. Louis - A Catholic priest who also served as a high school chaplain has been removed from his duties because of allegations made in a lawsuit against another priest.

Jamie Allman, a spokesman for the St. Louis Archdiocese, said the Rev. Michael A. Freymuth was removed from duties about three weeks ago over allegations of inappropriate conduct several years ago.

He had been serving as a part-time associate pastor at St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Church, and as a chaplain at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School, both in St. Louis.

"This was not on the basis of any substantiated abuse allegation," Allman said. "It was determined that this was inappropriate contact, but not abuse."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, met Friday for a news conference and to present concerns about Freymuth to high school and archdiocesan leaders.

The lawsuit that led to the allegations against Freymuth was filed by Christian minister Tim Bartin, who lives somewhere in Missouri but will not specify where. Bartin, who said his ministry is not Catholic, settled the suit against former St. Louis priest Roman Ferraro about three weeks ago.

That's when his allegations against Freymuth surfaced.

Bartin, now in his 30s, said Friday he was about 12 when he was invited to a private dinner with Freymuth and given wine by the priest.

The inappropriate contact occurred while watching a movie, he said.

At Friday's news conference, SNAP members also said Freymuth was allowed to continue his duties as a priest even after another man made allegations about him two years ago.

But Allman said the archdiocese has taken a proactive approach to dealing with concerns about Freymuth.

"The archbishop was way ahead of SNAP on this one," Allman said. "The bottom line was that the archbishop has had this guy on radar for a while. There was behavior that was seen as needing therapy as early as last summer, and the archbishop made sure he got that."

The therapy was unrelated to sexual abuse, Allman said.


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