Father William Romero
Diocese of Venice
- Ann School (Naples, FL)
- Joseph the Worker (Moore Haven, FL)
- Augustine (Coral Gables, FL)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father William Romero:
Fr. William Romero was accused of multiple sexual abuse suits over the past three decades. In 2003, Fr. William Romero was accused in a civil lawsuit claiming that he sexually abused a former altar boy and St. Ann student in 1976. The boy was 12 years old when the abuse began, first at the child’s home through a game of leapfrog and later on an overnight stay at the St. Ann rectory.
The suit states athat when the boy arrived at St. Ann for what he thought was a group sailing trip with his youth pastor, he realized no other students were present. Later that night, after returning from a movie with another priest, Fr. Romero persuaded the boy to shower with him. Romero proceeded to touch the boy’s genitals while masturbating himself.
The suit also said that the Archdiocese of Miami knew about the abuse, claiming church leaders broke the secret pact by quietly transferring the wayward priest to other parishes, where he would abuse more children.
Also in 2003, three siblings accused Romero of abusing them from 1982-1989 while he served as parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Moore Haven, FL. Romero had met the two boys and their sister several years earlier as pastor of St. Christopher’s Parish in Hobe Sound, which straddles the Palm Beach-Martin County border.
In a seven-page document filed in 2003 in response to that suit, Fr. Romero acknowledges “a half dozen” incidents of mutual masturbation with one of the three siblings. Romero also said the sexual encounters took place soon after he was transferred in 1982 to St. Joseph. Romero also details a three-year affair with the boy’s mother. The divorced woman and the priest jointly purchased a timeshare in the Florida Keys for annual family vacations. The suit reports that after moving the three siblings into his home during summer vacations, Romero took weekly showers with the 9-year-old sister and regularly had sex with her two brothers.
In 2012, a South Florida man filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami claiming he was sexually abused by Fr. Romero when he was an altar boy in the 1970s at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Coral Gables.
The victim began having flashbacks of abuse at the 2008 funeral for his brother, held at St. Augustine Catholic Church the very same parish where he says the priest assaulted him multiple times.
Romero retired in 1995. His faculties were revoked in 2002. Romero has lived in LaBelle, east of Fort Myers in rural Hendry County, for the past decade after retiring from the active priesthood.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Venice in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help.