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Spotlight Report

N.Y. priest accused of raping boy is arrested

By Tom Farragher, Globe Staff, 4/2/2002

A Catholic priest accused of raping a young boy at the child's Billerica home nearly three decades ago was arrested yesterday in New York City, authorities said.

The Rev. Romano Ferraro, 67, of the Jamaica section of New York was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury last Thursday and is charged with rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Ferraro has never been assigned to a parish in Massachusetts, said Emily LaGrassa, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office.

Ferraro ''was visiting acquaintances in Billerica on several occasions between 1973 and 1980, and that's when the incidents are alleged to have occurred,'' said LaGrassa.

The victim contacted Middlesex County's child abuse unit in September to report the alleged assaults.

''After an investigation, we presented the case to the grand jury last week,'' LaGrassa said.

Ferraro, who was taken into custody by the New York City Police special victims squad, could be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court this week if he does not fight rendition back to Massachusetts.

He must first be arraigned in New York on charges of being a fugitive from justice.

The statute of limitations for the alleged attacks would have expired had Ferraro remained in Massachusetts. But because he lived outside the state ''the clock on the statute of limitations was stopped,'' LaGrassa said.

The allegations against Ferraro were first reported to authorities last fall before the clergy sexual abuse scandal rocked the Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic Church nationwide.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law has acknowledged that at least 80 Boston priests have been accused of sexually abusing minors during the last five decades. He has apologized for the church's past practice of allowing priests accused of abuse to continue to work in parishes.

Tom Farragher can be reached at

This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 4/2/2002.
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