Tag: Michael Freeman

Fr. Michael R. Freeman – Diocese of Erie

Father Michael Freeman

Diocese of Erie

Michael Freeman Diocese of Erie Horowitz Law

Ordination: 1972

Faculties Revoked by Diocese of Buffalo: 1981

Possible inpatient treatment: 1981, 1989

Faculties Revoked by Diocese of Erie: 1989

Died: 2010

Assigned as follows:

  • 1972-1975 St. Margaret (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1975-1976 St. Lawrence (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1975-1976 Bishop Turner High School
  • 1976-1980 Sacred Heart (Niagara Falls, NY)
  • 1980-1981 Chaplain, United States Army
  • 1981 Unassigned
  • 1982-1984 St. Christopher (Tonawanda, PA)
  • 1984-1989 St. Mary (Lancaster, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Michael Freeman:

Fr. Michael Freeman was originally ordained a priest for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1972. He also served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Erie. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It noted the Diocese of Buffalo first became aware of his criminal activity in 1981. Despite Freeman’s confession of sexual misconduct at St. Margaret’s and St. Lawrence parishes in New York, he was later allowed to minister in the Diocese of Erie under the supervision of his “benevolent bishop,” Bishop Michael J. Murphy. He worked there until 1989, but was never incardinated into the Diocese of Erie.

According to the grand jury report, Michael Freeman of Erie was also treated at Southdown Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Toronto, on at least two occasions. Based upon our experience, we believe it is highly likely that at least one, if not both, of these treatments occurred before Freeman was assigned in the Diocese of Erie. It is typically the case that dangerous priests who are discharged from treatment seek work in another diocese from a “benevolent bishop” when their home diocese will not allow them to be reassigned there.  While we cannot say this with absolutely certainty in the case of Freeman without seeing his personnel file, the chronology certainly suggests this was the case.

Freeman subsequently admitted to sexually abusing children in all of the parishes to which he was assigned.  

He was never assigned in ministry after 1989, but it is unclear what Freeman did to support himself after that time.  In 1999, the Diocese of Buffalo indicated in a letter to Freeman that they were terminating his insurance benefits because his “new employer” would be covering them, but the identity of the “new employer” is not clear.

According to The Buffalo News, another victim told the Diocese of Buffalo that Michael Freeman of Erie forced him to perform oral sex on the priest at gunpoint while he was a child. According to the victim, Freeman repeatedly sexually abused him and then forced the child to confess his “sins” once the act of abuse was complete, as if the boy had done something wrong. The victim added that on one occasion Freeman took him on a trip to Toronto where the Father allegedly paid a male prostitute to have sex with both Freeman and the victim. The abuse began in 1984, when the victim was 14-years-old and continued well into the victim’s high school years.

Freeman died in 2010.  

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 may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Michael Freeman – Diocese of Erie

Father Michael Freeman – Diocese of Erie

Fr. Michael Freeman Horowitz Law

Ordained:  1972

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

Died: 2010

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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.