Man accused of giving cellphone to 9-year-old for nude selfies
NEW MILFORD — A 41-year-old man has been charged with several felonies after authorities said he gave a 9-year-old girl an iPhone and directed her to send him nude photos of herself.
Police said Michael Romano required the girl to send him two selfies a day, including the nudes, and set alarms on the phone to remind her of his instructions, court documents said. When she didn’t comply, he spanked her with a leather belt hard enough to leave bruises, documents said.
The charges stem from an investigation that began last month. Romano, who police said is married but romantically involved with the girl’s mother, was charged Dec. 14 with third-degree assault and risk of injury to a child after hitting the mother and spanking the girl. The court issued a protective order banning him from further contact with mother and daughter.
But authorities said Romano violated the order Jan. 18 when he parked his car across the street from the girl’s school. After his arrest, he was charged with risk of injury to a child, enticing a minor by computer, employing a minor to make an obscene performance, witness tampering and third-degree assault.
He was due in court Tuesday.
The mother had told police earlier that she knew about the nude photos and that they were “wrong,” but added that the whole family walks around their apartment naked and “she did not see anything wrong with that,” authorities said.
Police then listened in to a call between her and Romano about the photos.
“The police have no proof,” police said Romano told her. “If they had a video of me having sex with her, I would be behind bars.”
The next day, the mother came to police with a five-page letter she said Romano had written on her behalf in an attempt to revise her earlier testimony.
A week later, police started reviewing the girl’s phone, court documents said. Romano was listed under the contact “Daddy.”
The girl and her brother were taken from the mother’s home by the state Department of Children and Families, according to court documents
In an interview with police, Romano said it was the girl’s mother who established the iPhone rules, and he was “shocked” the children were taken away.
Romano is being held at New Haven Correctional Center in lieu of $351,000 bond. He has yet to plea to any of the charges.
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