STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) — The Diocese of Steubenville announced on March 3 that they added a former priest to their list of clergy who were credibly accused of abuse, but SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests, says this declaration is “far too little and far too late.”
Jeffrey M. Monforton, Bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville announced in the diocese’s newspaper, The Steubenville Register, that Monsignor Mark J. Froelich, a retired diocesan priest, was added to the Diocese of Steubenville’s List of Priests Accused of Abuse.
The newspaper announcement says that Monforton removed Froelich from active ministry on May 22, 2018 due to “credible allegations of sexual abuse against him.”
In a statement to 7News, Dino Orsatti, Diocese of Steubenville Director of Communications and Editor of The Steubenville Register referred to the March 3 newspaper article on Froelich that stated, “Subsequent investigation has deemed these accusations to be credible but not substantiated.”
Orsatti says Froelich was placed on the list immediately after an investigation was completed and that their announcement was made on the front page of the diocesan newspaper, a publication that is mailed to all families in the diocese.
The following was placed at the top of the front page of the March 3, 2023 edition of The Steubenville Register. The paper is mailed to every Catholic family in the diocese and the edition remains on our website for five months. Msgr. Froehlich was immediately placed on our list of priests accused of abuse, which permanently stays on our website, as soon as the investigation was completed.Dino Orsatti, Diocese of Steubenville Director of Communications and Editor of The Steubenville Register
The full text of the March 3 article is below:
Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton announced that Msgr. Mark J. Froehlich, a retired diocesan priest, has been added to the Diocese of Steubenville’s List of Priests Accused of Abuse.
On May 22, 2018, Bishop Monforton removed Msgr. Froehlich from active ministry due to credible allegations of sexual abuse against him. Subsequent investigation has deemed these accusations to be credible but not substantiated.
Any person aware of abuse by anyone serving on behalf of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Steubenville is encouraged to contact diocesan and civil authorities. In the diocese, people should contact the Victim Assistance Service at email@example.com or telephone (740) 278-3455.The Steubenville Register, March 3 article on retired priest Monsignor Mark J. Froelich
Orsetti says the investigation was held up in the court system.
“Much of the delay in completing the investigation was out of our control. It was bogged down in the court system.”Dino Orsatti, Diocese of Steubenville Director of Communications and Editor of The Steubenville Register
According to SNAP, “Froehlich worked at St. Joseph School in Ironton, OH; Guernsey Catholic in Cambridge, OH; St. John Central in Bellaire, OH; and Bridgeport Catholic Schools in Bridgeport, OH; in addition to dozens of parish assignments.”
SNAP claims Froelich was accused of “victimizing children” at the school he worked in.
SNAP says Catholic officials in Froelich’s case “dragged their feet and did the absolute bare minimum regarding the accusations against him for years.” They are asking the Ohio attorney general to investigate.
The Diocese of Steubenville encourages those who need help to contact their Victim Assistance Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (740) 278-3455.
For more information about SNAP, click here.