CASE UPDATE: Lackawanna County Church Youth Group Leader Arrested for Child Sexual Abuse

September 13, 2019 | Topic: Criminal

Matthew Romanchak was first arrested last month for soliciting sex from a purported minor online

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that a Lackawanna County youth group leader was arrested for sexually abusing a child. Matthew Stephan Romanchak, 29, of Mayfield, was charged today with Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Corruption of Minors, and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility. The defendant was in charge of a youth group at St. John’s Russian Orthodox Church.

The defendant was first charged in August, 2019 for soliciting sex from a purported minor online and travelling with the intention of meeting the child for sex. The purported minor was an undercover agent with the Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section. As a result, the defendant was charged with Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Attempt to Commit Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

After Romanchak’s first arrest, a victim came forward to report that the defendant—who the victim identified as a sub-deacon in the church—solicited him for sex online in 2015 when the victim was a minor. The abuse is alleged to have occurred multiple times between 2015 and 2017 in Lackawanna County.

“The defendant held a position of authority in his church and was entrusted to supervise children in a youth group, and now he is charged with soliciting sex from minors online and repeatedly sexually abusing a child,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I’m proud of the brave survivor who came forward to tell law enforcement about the abuse endured at the hands of the defendant. I encourage anyone else with information about Matthew Romanchak to contact law enforcement immediately. We are here for you, and we will put the full weight of our Office behind achieving justice for you.”

Deputy Attorney General Angela Raver is prosecuting the case. Anyone who has information about child predators should contact the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section at 1-800-385-1044.

All charges discussed are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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