DOWNSTAIRS, DESCENDING FROM the strobe-lit dance floor, big-screen TV theater, and sauna-whirlpool room, the Reverend George Freeman motioned for quiet as we entered the basement of his parish, The Monastery, a onetime Methodist church then on Boren Avenue.
"Worshippers," he said with a nudge of the elbow. As we stood a short distance from a series of cribs or bunks, another reporter and I watched two bearded men engage in noisy, bumpy sex.
The reverend—a title that came in the mail—shrugged. Whadda ya gonna do? George Freeman indicated. His was the church of free love and disco. To each his own prayer service.
Freeman's gay teen nightclub-parading-as-a-church was closed as a public nuisance in 1985 but not forgotten, particularly now that he has given up the ministry for politics and a hoped-for seat on the Seattle City Council.
"Contrary to the reporting of the mainstream press," Freeman says today in a campaign statement, "The Monastery was not a teen dance hall." It was a "misunderstood" homeless shelter whose only sin, he suggests, was lack of a banquet permit.
To those of us who were there, that's revisionist history. But Freeman, 62, needs a rewrite if he's going to overcome the past and beat back council position 7 front-runner Charlie Chong and strong challenger Heidi Wills. He's got new troubles as well, a fact to which, strangely, he has alerted the media. His campaign announcements have included police reports and copies of Municipal Court motions he has filed against the city he hopes to help lead—and which is prosecuting him for obstructing a police officer.
Freeman also recently filed a $10,000-plus claim against the city for false arrest and imprisonment related to the obstruction charge. He says it's rooted in an old grudge against him by a sexually predatory cop that was sparked anew by an armed robbery incident on Capitol Hill last year. The candidate claims he was wrongly fingered as a robbery suspect by cops "out to get" him. While handcuffed in the back seat of a police car, Freeman says, he was threatened with a switchblade knife by a cop.
That has prompted him to add another plank to his rickety platform. Besides proposing a tax on guns and munitions, construction of a glass-enclosed Adventure Dome for family fun, and new dog parks to be created by convicted nonviolent offenders, Freeman would like to see video cameras installed in all police cars. Hear! Hear! A good proposal even for candidates who haven't been arrested recently.