Priest Busted in Rape

By Philip Messing and Dan Mangan
New York Post
April 2, 2002

A Queens Catholic priest who once told kids there is no Santa Claus was arrested yesterday on charges he raped a boy in Massachusetts more than two decades ago.

The Rev. Romano Ferraro was suspended by the Brooklyn Diocese more than a decade ago for another case of alleged sexual misconduct, also apparently with a minor.

Ferraro, 67, of 153rd Street in Jamaica, surrendered to local cops after learning he was wanted on the Massachusetts warrant for the alleged rape of a child and indecent assault on a child.

Besides being an accused child molester, Ferraro spurred a furor in 1986 when he told a tearful group of New Jersey kids that Santa Claus was dead, reindeer can't fly, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a myth.

The priest was transferred out of the parish after those remarks.

In a written statement, Massachusetts prosecutors said that, between 1973 and 1980, "Ferraro raped and sexually assaulted the male victim, who was between the ages of 7 and 13 at the time the alleged assault[s] occurred."

The criminal complaint was made last fall, before the scandal-wracked Archdiocese of Boston turned over to authorities the names of its priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with kids.

Ferraro is a priest in the Brooklyn Diocese, which includes Queens - although "he's been suspended from any priestly ministry for about 12 or 13 years," diocesan spokesman Frank DeRosa said.

DeRosa said Ferraro was accused of sexual misconduct, and he believes the case involved a child.

He said the diocese had reason to suspect that the allegation was true.

Ferraro has been living with several other priests in a building owned by and across the street from Mary Immaculate Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Ferraro was in police custody yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

Several people who work in the building where he lives described him as an "always friendly" man who dressed in lay clothes and tooled around town on a red motorcycle.

Additional reporting by Dan Kadison


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