Police Chief Charged With Intimidating Witness

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SCOTT TOWNSHIP -- A sexual abuse case in Lackawanna County involving a teacher in the Lakeland School District got a lot more complicated as one of the lead investigators in that case - the Scott Township police chief - is now accused of having sex with a witness.

Scott Township Police Chief James Romano is charged with intimidating a witness and obstruction of justice.

The witness involved is a 20-year-old woman who says she had a sexual relationship with Romano. That's a crime because prosecutors say it will affect their sex abuse case against the Lakeland teacher.

Scott Township Police Chief James Romano was there a few months ago as he led former Lakeland High School teacher Matthew Stevens into the back of a patrol car. But the tables are now turned on Romano, and people who live nearby his home near Montdale say it was a dramatic scene. Trucks filled with an attorney general's office tactical team showed up to arrest the police chief. The A.G.'s office say the SWAT team was used as a precaution.

Romano was arraigned and charged with obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness.

It all stems back to what happened after the day when Matthew Stevens was arrested. Stevens is accused of having sex with a former Lakeland High School student when she was underage. Romano is now accused of having a relationship with a woman who was set to testify in that case.

According to court papers, the attorney general's office started investigating Romano last month. He's been suspended from Scott Township since then.

The gossip has been swirling since then, too.

"What I'm hearing is that he was fooling around with the witness, not a good thing, not a good thing for anyone, especially a policeman," said David Fron of Scott Township.

"I think since he was the police chief, he should've been the prime example of what a good citizen should be and knowing his past and knowing him, I knew it was inevitable," Cheryl Green of Scott Township said.

Investigators say in a text message conversation with an undercover detective posing as the witness, Chief Romano tried to get her to cover up their relationship. They also say that witness might not be able to testify in the teacher case now as a result of their alleged relationship.

Romano is still suspended from the Scott Township Police Department.