Father of murdered 5-year-old AJ Freund disbarred following guilty plea

Andrew Freund Sr., who was licensed as an attorney in 1984, pleaded guilty in September to aggravated battery of a child, involuntary manslaughter and concealment of homicidal death

The Illinois Supreme Court has disbarred the Crystal Lake father and former attorney who buried his 5-year-old son in the woods after the child was murdered by his mother.

Andrew T. Freund Sr., who was licensed as an attorney in 1984, was disbarred on consent this month as a result of convictions tied to his son’s abuse and death, according to Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission records released Thursday.

Freund pleaded guilty in September to aggravated battery of a child, involuntary manslaughter and concealment of a homicidal death and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He could serve as few as 18 years under the state’s sentencing laws and also must register as a violent offender against youth.

As a result of Freund’s criminal conviction, the ARDC accused the former lawyer of “committing criminal acts that reflect adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer” and “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud deceit or misrepresentation,” records show. On Nov. 9, Freund filed a motion with the Illinois ARDC essentially consenting to his disbarment.

Freund and AJ’s biological mother, JoAnn Cunningham, reported their son missing from their “filthy” and dilapidated home on April 18, 2019, records show. It was revealed through the more than the year’s worth of court proceedings that followed, that AJ likely died three days before he was reported missing.

According to court records and sentencing hearing testimony, Cunningham beat AJ and forced him to remain in a cold shower for 20 minutes on April 15, 2019. She then put the young boy to bed cold, wet and naked, where he died, records show.

AJ’s body was stored in the basement until Freund buried the boy in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock.

It was Freund who ultimately led law enforcement to AJ’s body after a weeklong community-wide search that involved the FBI and other police agencies from across the state.

The former attorney already had a history of professional disciplinary action at the time of his April 24, 2019, arrest.

In 2012, he represented Cunningham as a divorce attorney. The two became romantically involved during that time, and by 2015, were engaged to be married, ARDC records show.

Freund later would be accused of violating court orders by helping Cunningham, then known as JoAnn Summerkamp, take property from her home while her divorce was ongoing. As a result, both Freund and Cunningham were convicted of indirect criminal contempt and spent 14 and 30 days, respectively, in the McHenry County Jail, according to the ARDC.

Freund also was accused in a separate matter of representing Cunningham while he was unauthorized to practice law, records show.

A forensic psychologist determined that Freund’s use of opioids and cocaine at least partially contributed to the misconduct. He went on to attend addiction treatment and receive a fitness evaluation before the end of the resulting 90-day suspension, records show.

Police reports cite continued interaction with Freund and Cunningham over the years.

On Dec. 5, Cunningham entered a blind guilty plea to first-degree murder, and she was sentenced to 35 years in prison in July.

Freund’s guilty plea and sentencing followed several months later. As of Thursday afternoon, he remained at the Illinois Department of Corrections Northern Reception Center, housed at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.