Retired priest faces sex abuse allegation, denies claim


May 29, 2018

By Matt Saxton

Bridgeport – A retired Belmont County Catholic priest and former schoolteacher has been relieved of active ministry duties after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville received what it says is a credible sexual abuse allegation against him.

Diocese spokesman Dino Orsatti said Monday that Monsignor Mark Froelich, 75, of Belmont, will no longer be able to participate in church-related activities. Although Froelich retired in 2014, he was still helping some churches with activities such as Masses, confessions and church functions.

As of Monday night, Froelich was not facing criminal charges. But Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton decided that the allegation was serious enough to remove him from those duties, Orsatti said.

“Our attorneys felt that the accusations are credible enough that the retired priest should be removed from active ministry,” he said.

“We take every allegation extremely seriously,” said Orsatti who also said the Roman Catholic Church issued a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse allegations in 2002. “We’re just following that decree and taking extra precautions.”

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