SCRANTON — A police chief already facing charges of intimidating a witness is hit with new charges.
A hearing for the chief on charges already filed against him was suddenly put on hold in Lackawanna County court when the state attorney general’s office filed more charges.
Scott Township Police Chief James Romano was arrested and jailed about a month ago. He’s since been freed on bail and showed up to the Lackawanna County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing but prosecutors from the attorney general’s office surprised him with more criminal charges stemming from the same accusation that he had sex with a witness in one of his cases.
Suspended Scott Township Police Chief James Romano left downtown Scranton much earlier than he expected. Romano, and about 10 witnesses set to testify in his case, showed up for a preliminary hearing but that was called off when prosecutors from the attorney general’s office showed up with more charges.
Chief Romano was and investigator in a case against Lakeland High School teacher Matthew Stevens.
Stevens is accused of having sex with one of his underage students. It’s actions Romano allegedly made after that day that now have him in trouble.
Romano was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 20-year-old woman set to testify in the teacher’s case. Romano was charged with intimidation of a witness because prosecutors said it could affect the case. Now, Romano is being charged with tampering with evidence and solicitation to bribe. According to court papers just filed, after Romano had sex with the witness, he asked her to delete text messages the two shared and promised her that if she didn’t tell anyone about their relationship, they could go public as a couple as soon as the teacher’s trial was over.
Romano’s next appearance in court is scheduled for next week. Defense attorneys want to ask a judge to reduce Romano’s $150,000 bail. Defense attorneys argue that prosecutors were overzealous in arresting Romano last month they called a SWAT team to his house.