Satanic church snubs battered teen

First he got beat up and called a devil worshiper.

Now the Church of Satan, which Daniel Romano says he has been a member of for two years, denies knowing him.

“They deny knowing me because they don’t want the press,” said Romano, who was pounded Sunday with an ice scraper and metal pipe near his Maspeth home.

Romano, 20, who spent part of Tuesday in a bagel store in an effort to dodge a TV news crew in his neighborhood, said that as a card-carrying member of the Church of Satan he avidly reads the “Satanic Bible” and attends secret meetings.

But the high priest of the Manhattan-based church wondered just who Romano is.

“I don’t know the guy,” said High Priest Peter Gilmore, the church’s leader. “I can’t vouch if he is a Satanist or not. He might be somebody that’s out for publicity.

“Anybody who says he’s a Satanist, and is not a member, we don’t support,” Gilmore added. “How can we? There’s a lot of crazy people out there.”

Romano, who has lived on Caldwell Avenue in Maspeth with his mother since he was 12, said the attack was the first time he was beaten for his beliefs. But it was not the first time that his alleged attackers, Frank Scarpinito, 19, and Paul Rotondi, 18, had harassed him.

On Sunday, they allegedly pulled over in a blue sedan as Romano, draped in a black trenchcoat and wearing an inverted cross around his neck, was walking on 72nd Street.

“Yo, Satanist!” Romano said they yelled.

The two were fueled by rumors that Romano’s beliefs required him to sacrifice humans, prosecutors said. They also called Romano “baby killer” and “hooker killer,” prosecutors said.

Romano suffered a bleeding scalp and bruises on his hands and left thigh in the attack.

Scarpinito and Rotondi were charged with criminal possession of a weapon, aggravated harassment and assault under the state’s hate crimes law. Both posted $5,000 bail.

Romano, who said he became a Satanist in part to rebel against his Christian upbringing, denied his religion is associated with physical violence, sacrifices or “devil worshiping.”

On that note only, Gilmore agrees.

But Romano also said he is not upset that the church, founded in 1966 by Anton La Vey, has shunned him. He suggested the church is seeking to avoid negative media coverage.

“I’d rather them keep their mouth shut about everything until the courtroom,” he said, adding that church members are prepared to testify that Satanism is a valid religion.

Of his attackers, he said: “These kids deserve justice.”

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
New York Newsday, USA
Jan. 12, 2005
Luis Perez, Staff Writer

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday January 13, 2005.
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