This new version of FreeMarker includes auto-escaping and output formats. The <#escape> directive has been deprecated. Notice the comment at the very end of this page:
"FreeMarker automatically escapes all values printed ... if it's properly configured (that's the responsibility of the programmers; see here how)."
Would be good to turn autoescaping on, and set the configuration to match .ftl as HTML and .fo.ftl as XML.