Anti-gay Christian Group Opens Teen Coffeeshop; Hires Child Molester to Run It
Everyone knows that the religious right fundies like to claim that LGBT people are more likely to molest children even though the facts say otherwise. Scott Lively, the evangelical who has been pushing Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, has opened a coffeeshop in Springfield Massachusetts. The cafe is aimed at local teenagers.
So who does an anti-gay crusader hire to manage his new "teen outreach ministry?" A convicted child molester, of course.
A local man who served as manager of the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop on State Street -- a cafe operated by anti-gay pastor Scott Lively that serves free coffee and offers conversation to teenage visitors -- is a sex offender from New York who was imprisoned for the sexual abuse of an 11-year-old girl in 1995, according to police.
Police detectives on Thursday arrested Michael Frediani, 38, of 453 State St., for failing to register as a Level 2 sex offender in Springfield. He was living in an apartment above the coffee house.
The coffee house drew criticism last week from some city and school officials, in part because of concerns that truant students were visiting the site during school hours. Lively, pastor of Redemption Gate Mission Society, has criticized media reports, which he says falsely portray him as a gay-bashing, hate-mongering activist.
Police arrest shop manager
City police, however, said the volunteer manager, Michael J. Frediani, 38, of 453 State St., is a convicted sex offender who failed to register as such in Springfield. As a result, he was arrested and charged Thursday.
Frediani was convicted in 1996 in New York of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl. The conviction relates to an arrest by police in Canandaigua, N.Y., in 1995, with the offense described as "deviate sexual intercourse" with the victim.
He is listed as a Class 3 offender in New York, defined as posing a "high risk" to commit a new offense. In Massachusetts, he is listed as a Class 2 (moderate risk) offender.
Scott said Frediani told him Thursday he believed he filled out the necessary paperwork to be registered as a sex offender here.
Frediani, who gave his name as Michael Free to The Republican last week and described himself as a born again Christian, pleaded innocent in District Court Thursday on the charge of failing to register as a sex offender in Springfield, and was released on his own recognizance. A pre-trial conference is scheduled Feb. 18.
Lively said he was not aware that Frediani was a sex offender, and had not seen a need to do a criminal check on his manager. Frediani has been a frequent manager of the coffee house since it opened in October, he said.
"Michael had told me he had a very rough past before he became a Christian," Lively said in a telephone interview. "I've only known him a few months. He strikes me as a very kind and gentle and honorable man."
Lively said his board feels that Frediani is a "changed man," but it will discuss the matter further...
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