Father Michael Freeman – Diocese of Erie
Ecclesiastical Endorsement revoked by U.S. Army: 1981
Inpatient treatment: two times
First assignment in Diocese of Erie: 1982
Diocese of Erie faculties revoked: 1989
Assigned as follows:
- 1972-1975 St. Margaret (Buffalo, NY)
- 1975-1976 St. Lawrence (Buffalo, NY)
- 1976-1980 Sacred Heart (Niagara Falls, NY)
- 1980-1981 Chaplain, U.S. Army (stationed in PA)
- 1981-1982 Location unknown
- 1982-1984 St. Christopher (Tonawanda, PA)
- 1984-1989 St. Mary (Lancaster, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Michael Freeman:
Father Michael Freeman was a priest of the Diocese of Buffalo that had two assignments in the Diocese of Erie following a rather dubious history in Buffalo and the U.S. Army.
According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Buffalo first learned that Freeman sexually abused children in late 1981. At that time, he admitted to sexual abuse at both St. Margaret and St. Lawrence, as well as his part-time assignment to Bishop Turner High School.
According to the grand jury report, Freeman has admitted to sexually abusing children during five of his six total assignments, including his two assignments in the Diocese of Erie. The report also states that Freeman was twice treated at Southdown, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests near Toronto, Ontario.
While the grand jury does not provide specifics about the timeline (or number) of allegations against Freeman, there are certainly red flags in his assignment history, including the revocation of his ecclesiastical faculties as a U.S. Army chaplain. The enlistment in the Army, while certainly not an indication of abuse on its own, is an assignment that admitted pedophile priests take on voluntarily to continue in ministry without bringing scandal to their home diocese. Additionally, the year spent out of ministry, followed by the resurfacing in the Diocese of Erie, is consistent with Freeman having admitted to sexual abuse of children following his discharge from a relatively brief enlistment in the military. Of course, these are opinions offered based upon our experience, and we cannot say with certainty whether these factors played a role in Freeman’s career without seeing his personnel files.
Freeman died in 2010. The Diocese of Buffalo continued to provide financial support and benefits to Freeman until 1999, when Freeman informed the Diocese of Buffalo that he had obtained other employment. What that employment was is not clear.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Erie now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or [email protected] today.