Group Demands Firing of Ex-priest, Now Counselor, Accused of Sex Abuse
By Melissa Sersland
May 9, 2013
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests—want Russell L. Romano to be fired.
Romano, who currently lives in Bolingbrook, works as a counselor for Advocate Health Care in the Illinois Professional Heath Program in Des Plaines, according to SNAP. He is listed on the Archdiocese of Chicago website as a priest with "substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors."
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Romano was ordained in 1973 and laicized in May 2009, according to the site. In July 2009, it was revealed that Romano left the church in 1991 after three boys reported abuse, according to ABC. Romano was then serving at St. Barbara's in Brookfield. He was never formally charged with sexual abuse.
SNAP members gathered in front of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Thursday to deliver a letter to Francis Cardinal George with their concerns.
"We here at SNAP are saddened to learn that yet another pedophile has been allowed to work in a profession where he has access to vulnerable and unsuspecting people, some of whom may be children," SNAP officials wrote in a letter to Francis Cardinal George.
The Archdiocese "did the right thing" in removing Romano from the church, but failed to do the right thing in ensuring that Romano did not "work in a position where he has authority and respect," SNAP President Barbara Blaine told the media Thursday.
"The fact that he can become a counselor, apparently licensed in Illinois, is troublesome," she said. "The Archdiocese could and should do more to protect children from these dangerous people."
The Archdiocese and Advocate were informed nearly two years ago that Romano was working as a counselor, SNAP officials write in the letter.
"We want to know how a known predator gets to work as a licensed counselor in Illinois," officials wrote in the letter. "We want him fired immediately."
SNAP officials also called on the Archdiocese to "disclose the whereabouts of all proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics" who have lived or worked in the Archdiocese.
Within the last two months, "three current or former Chicago-area priests deemed too dangerous for parish work have been found working in positions with access to kids," the letter said.
SNAP is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims with more than 9,000 members across the country.