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AJ Freund’s dad had been ordered to undergo drug treatment to keep law license

Andrew Freund Sr. walks near his home on Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake Friday afternoon. | John Starks/Daily Herald

Andrew Freund Sr. — who is charged with beating his son Andrew “AJ” Freund to death and burying him in a grave in rural McHenry County — is a practicing attorney who was disciplined by a state commission and ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.

Until recently, Freund practiced law in Riverside. A man who answered at a phone number listed for Freund’s law office on Thursday described Freund as an “independent contractor” but would not provide additional information and declined to give his name.

“He doesn’t work here no more,” according to the man, who said he last saw Freund a week ago.

Freund’s license was suspended for two years in October 2015. The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois at the time found he was convicted of indirect criminal contempt for violating a court order while he served as JoAnn Cunningham’s divorce attorney.

The suspension was stayed after 90 days in January 2016 and Freund was placed on probation and allowed to practice law again. He was allowed to continue practicing law as long as he meets the requirements of his probation, which include continuing treatment for substance abuse.

This combination April 24, 2019 booking photos provided by the Crystal Lake, Ill., Police Department shows JoAnn Cunningham and her husband, Andrew Freund Sr. On Wednesday, authorities dug up the body of a 5-year-old boy, believed to be Andrew “AJ” Freund
This combination April 24, 2019 booking photos provided by the Crystal Lake, Ill., Police Department shows JoAnn Cunningham and her husband, Andrew Freund Sr. On Wednesday, authorities dug up the body of a 5-year-old boy, believed to be Andrew “AJ” Freund, who was reported missing the previous week and charged his parents with murder and other counts. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

The suspension was imposed after several incidents that led the commission to take action against him dating to 2012. That year, Freund was convicted of helping Cunningham remove property, including silverware and a television, from the home she shared with her ex-husband in violation of a judge’s order in her divorce case, records show.

In a separate matter in 2013, Freund represented Cunningham in court for a violation related to the vaccination of her pet, the commission found. At the time he represented her, Freund did not tell the court that he was not allowed to practice law after he failed to register or complete continuing education requirements.

The commission’s records also show that Freund was convicted of retail theft from a McHenry County Kohl’s department store in 2014, which Freund admitted he had done to support his addictions.

When the commission sought to impose the suspension in 2015, Freund had received a diagnosis of opioid and cocaine use disorders, records show. Freund “expressed remorse for his conduct” and had sought help at Rosecrance, a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility, the commission reported.

However, the commission said, Freund had since entered into a romantic relationship with Cunningham and she had become his fiancee.

Allegations involving another child

In 2013, Cunningham’s mother, Lorelei Hughes, sought to take custody of Cunningham’s oldest child, who was 12 at the time, reported Thursday.

In court documents, Hughes accused Cunningham of obtaining pills for Freund in return for his representation in her divorce case, Patch reported. Many of the allegations in the petition for custody — including that the 12-year-old was severely neglected and living in a home in “severe disrepair” — are similar to allegations made by officers who went to the home in December last year and found it filled with dog feces.

That same year, Andrew was born with opiates in his system and was placed in a foster home, the Department of Children and Family Services has said. He was returned to his mother two years later.

DCFS removed Andrew’s younger brother from the home while investigating allegations of neglect the same day Andrew was reported missing, the agency said.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Acting DCFS Director Marc Smith said the agency was “committed to conducting a comprehensive review of the entirety of our work with Andrew’s family to understand our shortcomings and to be fully transparent with the public on any steps we are taking to address the issues.”


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