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Ex-Dr. Fruehan Claims Statute of Limitations Elapsed in Charge of Inappropriate Touching, But Dates May Not Be On His Side

| October 22, 2018

Florence Fruehan, in the orange shirt, faces an accusation that he improperly touched a woman during a medical exam, when Fruehan was a physician. He has since been ordered to stop practiving medicine and has agreed to surrender his license. He also serves on the East Flagler Mosquito Control District board, an elected panel of three chaired by Julius Kwiatkowski, above in the yellow shirt. (© FlaglerLive)

Florence Fruehan, in the orange shirt, faces an accusation that he improperly touched a woman during a medical exam, when Fruehan was a physician. He has since been ordered to stop practicing medicine and has agreed to surrender his license. He also serves on the East Flagler Mosquito Control District board, an elected panel of three chaired by Julius Kwiatkowski, above in the yellow shirt. (© FlaglerLive)

Florence Fruehan, the former Palm Coast physician accused of inappropriately touching a woman during a consultation at his office, will argue in court that the misdemeanor battery charge against him should be dismissed because the statutes of limitations has passed.

Warren Lindsey, an attorney for Fruehan, filed the motion last week. It is to be argued before County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens on Wednesday (Oct. 25). But the expiration date appears not to be on Fruehan’s side.

The motion states that Fruehan was served with a summons in the case on Oct. 9, and that that “the prosecution of Mr. Fruehan in the instant case is barred by the statute of limitations.” The motion relies on Florida law, which states that “A prosecution for a misdemeanor of the first degree must be commenced within 2 years after it is committed.”

The charge against Fruehan dates to an incident alleged to have taken place on Sept. 26, 2016 at Fruehan’s 9 Pine Cone Drive office (where he no longer works). It would appear that if the court relied on the date when the summons was served, it would have to grant the motion.

But the same law explicitly defines when “prosecution” of a case begins: not when an summons is served, but when an information or an indictment is filed: “A prosecution on a charge on which the defendant has not previously been arrested or served with a summons is commenced when either an indictment or information is filed, provided the capias, summons, or other process issued on such indictment or information is executed without unreasonable delay,” the law states.

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In Fruehan’s case, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office filed a charging affidavit involving a 39-year-old woman’s accusation on Aug. 24. The State Attorney’s Office filed its information on September 25, a day before the case would have struck the two-year mark. (An information is a prosecutor’s formal charge in the absence of an indictment.) Even though the summons was issued on Sept. 25 and served on Oct. 9, the most relevant date regarding the statute of limitations is when Melissa Clark, the Assistant State Attorney, issued her information, not when a process server delivered the summons.

A notable detail of Fruehan’s motion is the way Fruehan is being referred to throughout: no longer as “Dr. Fruehan,” but as “Mr. Fruehan.”

Fruehan, 59, in late August agreed to surrender his medical license as the Florida Department of Health was investigating him over accusations of sexual improprieties with a patient. That patient was different from the one who signed the battery charge against him, even though the 54-year-old woman who complained to the Department of Health spoke of an incident that took place this past May 24. That incident had similarities to the one involving the 39-year-old–Fruehan is alleged to have groped and fondled both women’s breasts. One woman had gone to his office to retrieve documents, not to be examined. The other had gone for a physical, for insurance purposes.

When the sheriff’s office filed its charging affidavits in late September, it filed two battery counts, including one signed by the woman who had filed the complaint with the state Department of Health. It’s not clear why the State Attorney’s Office did not pursue that charge as well, though it is not prevented from filing it separately should it choose to do so. The second charging affidavit listed several other women’s allegations against Fruehan, but all chose not to pursue charges “due to fear and/or embarrassment,” the affidavit states.

Fruehan is also an elected official: he serves on the East Flagler Mosquito Control District board.

13 Responses for “Ex-Dr. Fruehan Claims Statute of Limitations Elapsed in Charge of Inappropriate Touching, But Dates May Not Be On His Side”

  1. Dave says:

    Real nice county you have there , where the doctors are accused of sexual misconduct towards patients and is on the board for mosquito control. So if the kids are watching the lesson learned is, in Flagler County you can be a sexual predator,or a woman beater, a doctor, and still be successful and hold positions of power.

  2. Bryan says:

    Your a good man Doc. Keep your head up.

  3. Ritchie says:

    Dr Fruehan did great service to PC. If his offenses were not justifying prosecution then, maybe they should be dropped and forgiven.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    Why does Flagler County and it’s surrounding entities allow elected officials to serve while under investigation for criminal charges? I understand the whole innocent until proven guilty concept but elected officials are supposed to be held to higher standards and ethics.

    If an elected official is arrested on any charge he/she should be asked to step down until the case is resolved. We just saw a recent case dropped in Flagler Beach because that defendant was allowed to maintain and use political connections.

    Once again this dude is going to get away with being an abuser of women because of his connections and using fear to keep victims from coming forward.

    If The East Flagler Mosquito District Board had any ethics and morals they would ask Fruehan to step down until this matter is resolved. He should then be removed from office for conduct unbecoming.

    What all these Boards and Commissions aren’t realizing is when you fail to hold your members accountable for their actions you are enabling. Enabling is just as bad as committing the crime itself.

  5. South floridA says:

    After all that education to become a doctor. It’s a waste to throw it away and that is essentially what he did. He must be guilty to surrender license in a second.
    It’s a shame doctors can’t even be trusted anymore.

  6. 101 says:

    Concerned citizen I agree with all your wrote. The FB Commissioner was allowed to continue by the FB Commissioners. Now this PC Dr. no where else in the country would this be allowed. Wake up Flagler County do your job as elected officials.

  7. Ramone says:

    You answered your own question Concerned. The presumption of innocence applies to everyone. Period! If you start carving out certain groups of people who have to step down from their jobs or positions, you bastardize the entire premise. Relax and let the justice system do its job.

  8. tulip says:

    Being on the mosquito control is not exactly a major “office”, so nothing wrong with Fruehan still being on it. However, I would think it would be quite awkward because that “office” only has a few people, so you can’t avoid them and go to your own private space. I think he is useful to mosquito control, especially when the Zica virus was a threat. He does have the medical knowledge and knows the right people to call, should there have actually been a problem. And he can insult all those mosquitos they tested and they won’t care Lol.

    There are many many people, both men and women, who have been a victim of his insults and degradation and many women who have probably suffered his advances that don’t say anything. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I feel badly for those who have gone to him for years and trusted him only to find this out about him. From what I’ve seen, most of his patients are older and I think they get hurt because of their long standing trust in him.

    Dr Fruehan has violated the confidence and trust of many many patients over the years and even if by some small chance he gets his license back, I would think he would have to move far away where no one really knows him to start over because if he stayed here , I can’t imagine anyone feeling comfortable about going to him, with the exception of his faithful patients that haven’t had to deal with the doctor’s bad side.

    He has done wrong and, if it’s some kind of “mental condition”, then he shouldn’t be in a profession where he has access to women in particular.

  9. Jolene R Dehart says:

    Length of time does not erase despicable behavior and should not be FORGIVEN because it was “a while ago”. A pig 20 years ago is still a pig. And “doing a great job” for some of the people some of the time does not excuse harming others so e of the time. To “Ritchie”: if this was done to your child or wife or mother, should it be FORGIVEN because of time passed?

  10. Flatsflyer says:

    Dave, if you are real bullshitter you can become President rather than waste your time being a simple Physician! Just love all these comments because we have sexual perverts in the WH and numerous convicted criminal running for federal offices as well as others actually serving.

  11. Really says:

    Innocent stop wasting our money on chasing circumstantial BS charges.

  12. Speak the truth says:

    He gave up his license so quickly because he is guilty I don’t understand why you people cannot see this. If you’ve ever been in his office you can hear everybody’s business coming out of his mouth. Stop defending somebody who is guilty.

  13. No Class says says:

    I mean, let everyone know my prostate exam was OK. It’s hard for a man to cover his face walking out with everyone looking at you. No class.

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