Rock Creek Park Body Identified as Respected ACLU Exec

Man found face down in creek

Monday, Aug 31, 2009  |  Updated 3:48 PM EDT
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Rock Creek Park Body Identified as Respected ACLU Exec

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A man found dead in Rock Creek Park Friday is described as a well-respected ACLU lobbyist in both D.C. and Pennsylvania.

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WASHINGTON -- The ACLU has confirmed a DCist report that one of their employees found face down in a creek in Rock Creek Park last week apparently died of natural causes.

Larry Frankel, state legislative director for the ACLU's Washington legislative office, was found dead in jogging clothing by another jogger near Beach Drive and Massachusetts Avenue Friday morning. The 54-year-old had been missing since Wednesday at least, DCist reported.

Preliminary word is that the medical examiner will find no foul play in Frankel's death.

"Frankel was an irreplaceable member of the ACLU staff who was dedicated to working to defend the Constitution and individual rights throughout his long and distinguished career," read a statement from the ACLU. "A committed workaholic with an irreverent sense of humor, Frankel played a key role in analyzing legislation, conducting background research and providing legislative strategy to the ACLU's 53 state affiliates."

Frankel previously served as executive director of ACLU of Pennsylvania.

"Larry relished making common cause with usual ACLU foes more than anything, I think," Pennsylvania ACLU legal director Witold Walczak told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He took great joy in those situations."

Frankel worked to reform Pennsylvania's Right to Know law, defeat proposed same-sex marriage bans and school voucher plans, and defend voting rights, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"He viewed his client as the Constitution of the United States," Andy Chirls, Frankel's longtime partner until five months ago, told the Inquirer.

Frankel is survived by his father, his sister and two brothers.

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