Local News

Owner charged with embezzling from private Wake Forest school

Posted October 14, 2014 5:56 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2014 10:49 a.m. EDT

— The former owner of a private Christian school in Wake Forest has been charged with stealing more than $11,000 from the school.

Sue Horton Romano, 51, of 2700 Durham Road in Wake Forest, is charged with one count of felony embezzlement. She was released on a $1,000 bond.

Police say Romano stole $11,186 from Rejoice Community School between Feb. 21 and June 9, according to an arrest warrant.

Romano now operates another school, Rejoice School of Education and Performing Arts, out of Friendship Baptist Church in Wake Forest. She declined to discuss her criminal case on Tuesday, saying only that the truth would come out and quoting scripture.

Her husband called the embezzlement charge a misunderstanding that came about when she took over Rejoice Community School from its former owner.

Parents of Rejoice Community School students said, however, that there were problems before the money went missing.

One mother, who didn't want to be identified, said she pulled her child out of the school after finding out Romano failed to register the school with the state.

Documents from the state Division of Non-Public Education show Romano submitted the required forms in 2013, but they were turned in two months after the school year started.

"When I asked what could be done about this, (state officials) said, 'When you take your child out of public school, it is your responsibility to make sure a school is registered and inspected, and this is on you,'" the mother of the former student said. "I was disappointed. I was confused."

Romano also operated a school at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Raleigh. The pastor there said the church terminated the lease with Romano because the school missed several rent payments and owed the church a large sum of money.