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Former Priest Admits Sexual Misconduct

Feb 9, 2004 | AP

Court documents say a former priest facing three sex abuse lawsuits has acknowledged sexual misconduct with a troubled teen in Port St. Lucie.

The admission comes from William Romero, in a rambling, seven-page narrative filed late last year. In it, Romero says he had "a half dozen" sexual encounters with one of three siblings he met while assigned to St. Christopher's Parish in Hobe Sound.

Romero says the relationship with the teen lasted about a decade. He says it began soon after he was transferred in 1982 to St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Moore Haven, a farming town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee.

Romero retired from the active clergy on a medical disability in 1995. He left the priesthood in 2003 after a yearlong diocese investigation of abuse allegations in Naples, Miami and Moore Haven. He is accused in civil court of molesting a 12-year-old student during the 1975-76 school year while he worked as youth director at St. Ann School in Naples. He also is accused of raping a ten-year-old altar boy in Miami in 1975 and 1976.

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