2004-05-14 / Front Page

Ferraro Convicted Of 1970’s Massachusetts Abuse

Priest Served St. Rose Of Lima From 1971 to 1973
By Howard Schwach

Ferraro Convicted Of 1970’s Massachusetts Abuse

Priest Served St. Rose Of Lima From 1971 to 1973

By Howard Schwach

A Roman Catholic priest who once served at St. Rose of Lima Church in Rockaway Beach was convicted last Friday of sexually abusing a young Massachusetts boy 20 years ago.

The Reverend Romano Ferraro, 71, admitted during his trial that he was a pedophile who left a trail of victims at the parishes in which he worked during those years.

Among those parishes was St. Rose of Lima on Beach 84 Street, where Ferraro served from 1971 to 1973.

The jury in the Cambridge, Massachusetts trial found Ferraro guilty of one count of rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery.

Ferraro’s victim, who is now 37 and lives in New Hampshire, testified that the ex-priest abused him in the boy’s Massachusetts home beginning when he was seven years of age and continuing until he was 13.

The victim’s mother contacted The Wave on Monday to thank the publication for publishing the story so that local people could know what he had done and to bring some closure to those, who, like her son, had been abused.

After the story was published in The Wave on April 6, 2002, a number of people sent emails to the paper, detailing their anger at Ferraro for his actions while at St. Rose of Lima.

All of those who contacted the paper asked to remain anonymous, although all were contacted and asked to come forward with their stories.

"I don’t know why some of the older parishioners at St. Rose will not comment about Fr. Ray," one person emailed. "I am sure that they know there were many problems with him. My son was abused by him and we went to the pastor (Fr. Karl), who did nothing. Fr. Ferraro admitted in front of us and the pastor that he did sexually abuse my son. We went to the Vicar, who had him removed from St. Rose."

"I am writing in regard to your article about Fr. Romano Ferraro," said another. "He was involved with the youth of parish, especially with the teen club and with the altar boys. There was an allegation of sexual abuse with two young boys in either 1972 or 1973. There was rumor of a payoff to the families and then he was transferred away from St. Rose."

"Your story was a good tactic to get us to speak out," wrote a third. "My name will most likely become part of the current case against Fr. Ray. As a man of honor, I can tell you that Fr. Ray repeatedly committed the sexually abusive acts of a pedophile during his tenure as a priest at St. Rose of Lima. Never let anyone shake your understanding of that fact."

Ferraro could be charged in Massachusetts only because he did not live in the state and the statute of limitations had not run its course.

There are a number of pending civil suits alleging sex abuse against Ferraro in areas in which he served, although criminal charges cannot be brought in New York because of the statute of limitations.

He will be sentenced on May 20.

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