Fr. Romano Ferraro – Diocese of Brooklyn

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Romano Ferraro

Diocese of Brooklyn

Ordained: 1960

Removed: 1988

Laicized: 2011

Assigned as follows:

  • St. John’s University, Queens and Staten Island, NY
  • 1960-1962: St. Joseph Patron of the Universal (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1962-1963: St. Rosalia (Brooklyn, NY); Regina Pacis Votive Shrine (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1963-1964: St. Lucy (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1964-1968: Holy Family (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1968-1970: Military Service
  • 1968: Indoctrination Seminar Chaplain Corps Reserve U.S. Naval Air Station (Norfolk, VA); U.S. Naval Chaplains School (Newport, RI)
  • 1968-1969: U.S. Naval Air Station (Key West, FL)
  • 1969-1970: Mobile Support Unit Detachment Bravo (Subic Bay, Philippines)
  • 1971-1973: St. Rose of Lima (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1973: Absent on Sick Leave; Cathedral College (Douglaston, NY)
  • St. John’s University (Queens and Staten Island, NY)
  • 1975-1977: St. Joseph (Kings Park, NY)
  • 1977-1978: St. Francis Xavier (Brooklyn, NY); Madonna Residence for the Elderly (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1978-1979: St. Aloysius (Queens, NY); Wyckoff Heights Hospital  (Queens, NY)
  • 1980-1981: House of Affirmation (Webster Groves, MO)
  • 1981-1983: St. Joan of Arc (St. Louis, MO); Jewish Hospital (St. Louis, MO); Barnes Hospital (St. Louis, MO)
  • 1983: St. Francis Xavier (Bronx, NY); Jacobi Hospital (Bronx, NY); Einstein Hospital (Bronx, NY); Good Samaritan Hospital (West Islip, NY); Unassigned
  • 1984: St. James (Woodbridge, NJ)
  • 1984-1985: Our Lady of Mount Virgin (Middlesex, NJ)
  • 1985-1986: St. John Vianney (Colonia, NJ)
  • 1986-1987: Christ the King (Commack, NY)
  • 1987-1988: St. Rita (Staten Island, NY)
  • 1989: St. Luke Institute (Suitland, MD)
  • 1989-2002: Parsons Manor (Jamaica, NY)
  • 2003-2019: Prison (Old Colony Correctional Center)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Romano Ferraro:

Fr. Romano Ferraro is believed to have been one of the most prolific priest pedophiles on the East coast. During his 30 years as a Roman Catholic priest, he admitted in a court of law that he molested mostly prepubescent boys in the parishes he served from New York to St. Louis and while he was a Navy chaplain.

According to media reports, in the mid-1980s, Ferraro allegedly abused two brothers in the Diocese of Metuchen. He was “granted a temporary leave of absence for reasons that are both personal and parochial.”

In November 1991, he was accused of sexually abusing a boy while wrestling with him that summer at a relative’s house. He was suspended in December 1988 for the alleged sexual abuse of another boy in August of that year. He was sent for treatment at St. Luke Institute in January 1989.

In April 2002, Ferraro was arrested for repeatedly raping a boy from 1973 to 1980 in Billerica, Massachusetts. The boy’s father was a childhood friend of the priest. Ferraro molested the child during annual Christmas visits, starting when the boy was 7 years old. He was convicted in May 2004 when a jury found him guilty of child rape and guilty on three counts of indecent assault and battery against a child under 14. He was sentenced to life in prison in May 2004.

In late 2001, the victim came forward to authorities. The prosecution was possible because the statute of limitations clock had stopped with Ferraro out of state. He denied the charges but admitted at the trial that he was a pedophile predator who had abused dozens of boys. He also said he knew he was a pedophile by 1955, five years before he was ordained.

“From the time I was 20 years old I knew I had a desire for young boys,” Ferraro testified. “I felt I had an illness… a desire to be with young boys,” said Ferraro.

In October 2002, Ferraro was accused in a civil suit of sexually abusing two boys at St. Joseph’s in Kings Park, New York from 1974 to 1978, starting at ages 10 and 11. The abuse included oral sex, sodomy, and attempted anal penetration of one boy. He was also accused of transporting a boy from this parish to Billerica, Massachusetts, and abusing him along with the boy whom Ferraro was convicted of raping.

In October 2003, Ferraro was accused in a civil suit of sexually abusing an altar boy starting at age 8 while at Holy Family in Brooklyn, New York. According to the suit, Ferraro abused altar boys in a local pool, where the abuse included oral sex, and on school trips to New Jersey and at a friend’s home.

In January 2004, he was accused in a civil suit of sexually abusing an altar boy at St. Joan of Arc in St. Louis, Missouri. Later that year in May, he was accused in another civil suit of sexually abusing an altar boy at age 11 or 12. Both suits were settled in by the archdiocese for $65,700 in August 2004.

In January 2006, Ferraro was accused in a civil suit of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy in 1968 or 1969, while at gatherings of boys who were brought to the priest’s house from Mass, while he was a Navy chaplain in Key West, Florida in the Archdiocese of Miami. In 1970, he was dishonorably discharged.

During the trial, the Diocese of Brooklyn was required to disclose more than 1,000 pages of information from his personnel file which revealed that church officials knew as early as 1973 that he had abused boys. Despite this knowledge, they helped him find work in other dioceses around the country when they wanted him out of Brooklyn. According to his file, he was said to have revealed his attraction to young boys in the seminary.

Ferraro was then reassigned to the St. Rose of Lima parish in Rockaway. He left in 1973 amidst allegations of child sexual abuse. While wrestling with a small boy, he allegedly touched the boy sexually twice.

In March 2006, he was accused in a wrongful death suit of sexually abusing a boy multiple times between 1980 and 1983 at St. Joan of Arc parish in St. Louis from the age of 10 to 11. The victim struggled with depression and shot himself in July 2005.

“Words are inadequate to describe the torment that my husband experienced before ending his life,” the widow said in a statement. “When Romano Ferraro abused my husband as a child, he forever broke something inside of the little boy.”

Romano Ferraro is reported to have sexually abused children in the Dioceses of Brooklyn, Rockville Centre, Metuchen, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He was laicized in 2011.

In November 2017, Ferraro’s name was added to the Diocesan website of priests laicized by the Vatican office “authorized to deal with cases involving sexual abuse of minors by a cleric.” In February 2019, his name was included in the Diocese of Brooklyn’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. His name was included in the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ list in July 2019.

Ferraro died in January 2023.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Brooklyn, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an email to [email protected] to discuss your options today.