Catholic Priest

Oswald E. Romero

Ordained: 1977
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

In April 2006, a 53-year-old man came forward with allegations that Father Oswald E. Romero had sexually abused him while he was between the ages of 13 and 14 (1966 or 1967). This occurred when Romero was assisting at a parish in a suburb of Pittsburgh.  The male reported that this abuse has had a lasting impact on his life.

The victim was interviewed by Father James Young and Father John Rushofsky to discuss the abuse.  The victim was prompted to come forward after speaking with his priest. The victim explained that he attended St. Regis in Oakland and was familiar with Romero.  It should be noted that church records indicate that while Romero was never assigned to St. Regis, he would assist the parish at various times.  As a young teenager, the victim thought Romero was friendly and trusted him enough to enter his car while at a local park.

Romero asked the victim if he wanted a driving lesson.  Eager to learn, the victim got into the car.  Romero instructed him to sit on his lap so it would be easier to use the stick shift along with the gas and brake pedals.  Nothing happened during this lesson and Romero drove him home without incident.  A few weeks later, Romero inquired if the victim wanted another driving instruction in the same park. The victim accepted the offer. It was much later in the day then the previous lesson when they arrived at the park.  The victim stated that Romero soon began to rub his leg and eventually his genitals. Romero then proceeded to perform oral sex on him.  It was only when Romero realized that he could not finish the sexual act that he stopped. The victim stated he felt immobile during the abuse and the moment Romeo stopped, he jumped out of the car and fled home.

During the interview, the victim noted that he suffered from severe depression and prescription drugs as a result of trauma from abuse.  He noted that he had sought psychological treatment in the past.  Young and Rushofsky offered continued therapy; the victim was open to the option.   The allegations were brought to the attention of the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

In May 2006, the victim called Flaherty and informed her that he was seeking outpatient treatment at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. He called her again in June of 2006 and claimed that he was seeking additional outpatient treatments at Mercy Hospital.  He asked for financial help and was directed to contact a local charitable organization for further assistance with counseling and financial support.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.