Msgr. Mark Froehlich, former priest at Assumption Church, Barnesville and St. Mary’s of Temperanceville, was removed from the active ministry by the Bishop of Steubenville on May 24 as first reported by WTRF-TV 7 and WTOV-TV 9.

Froehlich, 75, who retired from the ministry in 2014 after serving the two local parishes, was permitted to help out parishes with duties including Mass and Confessions.

The May 8, 1969 Barnesville Enterprise reported the ordination in Steubenville of Msgr. Froehlich, 26, of Woodsfield . His parents were originally from Barnesville.

Members of the two local parishes as well as Sacred Heart in Neffs and St. Joseph of Bridgeport received the following letter from the Most Reverend Jeffrey M. Monforton in church bulletins Memorial Day weekend:

Dear Parishioners: The Diocese of Steubenville has received what it considers to be credible allegations of sexual abuse against retired diocesan priest Msgr. Mark J. Froehlich. Because of these allegations, Msgr. Froehlich has been removed from active ministry, effective immediately.

This matter is being handled in full accord with the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," which are special laws approved by the Holy Father to deal with child abuse and the Diocese of Steubenville’s Decree on Child Protections. When allegations are made concerning child abuse, they are dealt with in a straightforward and compassionate manner.

The Diocese of Steubenville is committed to full compliance with state law and Church policy on abuse. At the same time, I ask for prayers for those who are victims of child abuse and for those who are perpetrators of child abuse, particularly within the Catholic Church.

Any victim or victims harmed by a priest or anyone serving on behalf of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Steubenville should contact diocesan and civil authorities. In the diocese, victims are encouraged to contact Thomas S. Wilson, diocesan Office of Civil Law, 422 Washington Street in Steubenville at (740) 282-3631; or emailing twilson@diosteub.org . I am, Sincerely yours in Christ, Jeffrey M, Monforton, Bishop of Steubenville.

Barnesville and Temperanceville parishioners received this additional letter from their current pastor, Father David J. Cornett:

Dear Parishioners: You will have read, or will read, on the other side of this page, a letter that I received yesterday from Bishop Monforton. The letter announces that Monsignor Mark J. Froehlich has been suspended from active ministry because of what the diocese "considers to be credible allegations of sexual abuse."

When the diocese receives a credible allegation of sexual abuse, it sets in motion a series of actions. One of these actions is the immediate suspension of the priest, or bishop, or whoever might be accused, if they are working for the diocese. This suspension in no way presumes guilt. As a matter of fact, here in the United States we presume innocence unless proven otherwise. Depending on the outcome of a thorough investigation the suspension will either be lifted or continued.

To the best of my knowledge, Msgr. Mark always conducted himself very properly toward the youth of our parishes. As always, parishioners are encouraged to report any improper conduct involving minors by anyone who works for the Church. Reports should be made to the Diocesan Office of Civil Law as stipulated in Bishop Monforton’s letter.

Please keep Msgr. Mark in your prayers and offer him your support during this difficult time. As is unfortunately too often the case in the present climate, many people seem to treat allegations as proof, and even when exonerated, the reputations of accused priests seem to be permanently stained.

Continue to pray for all victims of child abuse and for perpetrators of child abuse. Sincerely yours in Christ, Father David J. Cornett, Pastor

Schools where Father Froehlich served as an instructor were also included in the notice including the former St. Joseph’s Elementary and St. John’s Central in Belmont County, the former Guernsey Catholic High School near Cambridge, and St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Ironton.