City Priest Is Removed over Misconduct Allegations

By Greg Jonsson and Phillip O'Connor
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 1, 2005

The St. Louis Archdiocese has removed a priest from duties at a Catholic high school and city parish over allegations of inappropriate conduct.

The Rev. Michael A. Freymuth, a chaplain at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School in St. Louis and a part-time associate pastor at St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Church, also in St. Louis, was removed about three weeks ago, said Jamie Allman, a spokesman for the archdiocese. Freymuth's removal was spurred by allegations made in a lawsuit against another priest, Allman said.

Public announcement of the removal came Friday, the same day the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests gathered to publicly present their concerns about Freymuth to the principal of the high school and to leaders of the archdiocese.

At the news conference, members of SNAP also said that another man made allegations about Freymuth to the archdiocese more than two years ago. Freymuth continued his duties as a priest.

Freymuth was given therapy in the summer, but it was unrelated to sexual abuse, Allman said. Freymuth could not be reached for comment Friday.

The second accuser came forward about three weeks ago. The man, Timothy Bartin of rural Missouri, said Friday that he was about 12 when the inappropriate conduct took place.

Bartin said he was invited to a private dinner at the rectory with Freymuth and given wine by the priest. He alleged the inappropriate conduct occurred while watching a movie.

Bartin reached a legal settlement with the archdiocese three weeks ago over an unrelated case involving another priest, Romano Ferraro. Ferraro, who was once a priest in St. Louis, is now serving a life sentence for raping and sexually assaulting a young boy in Massachusetts.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.