Crime

Babysitter charged with child sexual assault

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Neighbors are appalled that a child sexual predator was in their midst and they knew nothing about it. Moreover, they're shocked that people would hire a man on the internet who went only by the name Gary R. to baby sit their kids.

Gary R., aka 56-year-old Gary Romano of Norristown, peered out his window to keep an eye on news media outlets standing outside his home.

Romano had previously been arrested back in July for possessing child pornography on his computers and trading it with another pedophile in the state of Washington.

He pled guilty to those charges in December.

Authorities say in three of the images, Romano is seen molesting a 2-year-old girl, but at the time, police did not know who she was.

"What we've learned through the investigation was that he was in contact with this child through a job that he secured as a babysitter," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Authorities would learn that Romano was advertising his babysitting business on the website Sitter City.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Romano admitted to babysitting the female child and taking the images. The affidavit says Romano admitted to photographing these incidents and then sending them out via the internet.

Romano didn't want to talk about anything when Action News went by his home Thursday evening.

His neighbors, however, are stunned.

"This is definitely shocking. It turns my stomach. I'm a little sick right now about the whole situation," neighbor Allan Lane said.

"I am in shock. I have a 12-year-old daughter and I can't believe this is right across the street from my house. This is unbelievable," neighbor Robyn Keller-Bracey said.

Jennifer LeBlanc noticed Romano would often talk to her kids when they went to the Walmart where he worked.

"He was talking, talking, talking;it was kind of like a little more excessively talking," LeBlanc said.

Suzette Trimmer who runs the nanny service called "Your Other Hands" says she would never hire anyone without a complete and thorough background check.

"No one gets by me to be with someone else's child unless I know that I would leave them alone with my own children and that's been our motto for the last 25 years," Trimmer said.

Romano is awaiting sentencing on the child porn charges and is free on $50,000 cash bail on the new charges.

A spokesperson for the website Sitter City tells Action News, they have terminated Romano's account and have notified every parent he had contact with. Authorities say often in cases like this there are other victims out there. They are asking parents who hired Romano to babysit their children to talk with their kids and find out if he did anything inappropriate.

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Tags:
pennsylvania, norristown, montgomery county, child porn, child sex assault, crime
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