Bishop Bootkoski Addresses Father Ferraro’s Former Ministry in Diocese

By Chris Donahue
The Catholic Spirit, official newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen
June 24, 2004

In a letter to three parishes served by Father Roman Ferraro during the 1980s, Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski addressed the time spent in the diocese by the priest, who was recently sentenced to life in prison for the sexual abuse of a minor in Massachusetts.

The letter, dated May 28, was sent to Our Lady of Mount Virgin, Middlesex, St. James, Woodbridge, and St. John Vianney, Colonia, where Father Ferraro was assigned between June, 1984 and January, 1987.

Father Ferraro was asked to leave the diocese in 1987 for inappropriate remarks made during a Mass for religious education students a month earlier, the bishop said.

Father Ferraro was convicted May 20 in Middlesex County Superior Court in Cambridge, Mass., of raping a child and indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 according to the Home News Tribune. The incidents allegedly occurred in the home of a family friend in Billerica, Mass., which is about 20 miles northwest of Boston. Father Ferraro was assigned to an undisclosed parish in New York at the time of the incidents.

“I recognize that the news of Father Ferraro’s conviction and sentencing will occasion questions about his activities during the time he served in our diocese,” the bishop wrote.

“I wish, first of all, to assure you that there is nothing in Father Ferraro’s personnel file to suggest that he was known to have sexually abused minors at the time he was permitted to exercise priestly ministry in the Diocese of Metuchen. During the two and a half years that Father Ferraro served in the diocese, there were no complaints against him of a sexual nature.

“Tragically, after Father Ferraro left here it was learned that he had sexually abused two minors in the same family during the time he worked in the diocese. At the time the allegations were received the diocese gave assistance to the victims and helped the family to begin the process of recovery. The diocese also aided the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in its prosecution of Father Ferraro.

“During his trial in Massachusetts, Father Ferraro admitted being a ‘predator pedophile,’ while denying he abused the victim in question. We can only be glad that Father Ferraro will now no longer be in a position to devastate the lives of other children, and I ask you to join me in praying that the Lord will grant healing to Father Ferraro’s victims and all who continue to suffer the trauma of sexual abuse.”

In January, Ferraro was sued by a St. Louis man who claimed he was raped in the 1980s while he served as an altar boy, according to published reports. Ferraro was also among 13 priests named as defendants in a $300 million suit filed in 2002 against the Diocese of Brooklyn in New York, the Home News Tribune reported.

Bishop Bootkoski encouraged anyone who was sexually abused as a minor by a member of the clergy, or by anyone representing the Catholic Church, to report that abuse through the diocesan website, or by calling the diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection at (732) 562-2413. All communications will be handled promptly and confidentially.


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