Highland Park Student Arrested on Rape Charge

A Highland Park High School student was arrested Monday on a charge of sexual assault of a child.

Ryan Romo, 18, was taken into custody by University Park police after a girl told authorities he raped her Saturday night. The senior, who is an outfielder for the Highland Park Scots baseball team, was transferred Tuesday to the Dallas County jail, where he posted $100,000 bond.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the victim said she knew Romo only through school and ran into the baseball player at Saturday’s Ghostland Observatory show at the Palladium Ballroom. After the concert, she rode with him in a taxi to his Chevrolet Tahoe. He then drove them to the 3200 block of Stanford Avenue, where the assault occurred.

There, the affidavit states, the victim and Romo were kissing in the back seat when he moved forward with acts that made the victim uncomfortable. Despite the victim’s multiple pleas to stop, Romo raped the girl, the affidavit states.

He then drove her home, where her mother noticed something was wrong. After being asked what happened, the victim recalled Romo’s advances and said, “I said no, but he didn’t care.”

She was taken to Baylor Medical Center of Plano, where a rape kit was taken. According to the report, a nurse noted several abrasions on the victim’s body as well as other signs of abuse.

University Park investigators were able to record two conversations between the victim and Romo. In the first, he tells her, “I had fun. We should definitely hang out again.” He then makes remarks about purchasing the morning-after pill if the victim was really worried about being pregnant.

In the second recording, the victim tells Romo, “I just wish it didn’t happen like that,” and recalls how she had told him to stop and said no.

Romo replies, “OK, you’re making me feel bad. Wow.”

Romo is the son of Adam Romo, the chief executive officer of Eatzi’s Market & Bakery. Attempts to reach the family were not returned.

By Andrew Plock Oct. 31, 2012 | 3:42 pm | 79 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Ash

    I have an honest question. If a girl has never had sex before and she gets a rape kit taken after her first time, will it come back as “forcible” sex? I am just looking for an honest answer. I’m not a hs student or HP mom. As a side note, I can recall one incident from when I was in high school when a close friend of mine said she was raped because it was her first time and she never had sex with her (older) ex boyfriend and felt guilty about doing it with an acquaintance.
    This doesn’t mean the girl isn’t telling the truth, btw. Just wanted to add my only experience with this (thankfully) at that age.

  • southernbelle

    You can raise your kids to know right from wrong and teach them about consequences, however there are some kids who just DON’T get it and don’t want to get it. Parenting can be a very difficult task with certain children. Who knows where the girl’s mother thought she really was that night. She may have had no clue she was at the palladium. Some kids lie to their parents! Even GREAT kids lie to their parents. She may have also been a virgin and that would explain the bruising and tearing. In any event, very sad for all involved. Both of these lives have been damaged.

  • Realllllllly?

    As far as I can tell, none of you were in the car with these two people at the time of the alleged crime. Let our judicial system sort it all out. Objectively. Mind your own business. No one knows what happened. Period. It doesn’t matter what any of you think about the alleged RAPIST or the alleged VICTIM. Facts are facts and Statutory Rape is not any different than stranger rape or date rape in the eyes of the law. Thankfully.

  • formerhpstudent

    @Scots Mom : Just to add onto the others who have already criticized the many flaws in your comments, but “she could have gotten out of the car” is an awful understanding of sexual assault situations. She probably weighs about 120 pounds based on the average HP girl. He weighs something like 180-190 and is a strong athlete. Who’s going to win on strength there? Once again, we were not there. We do not know exactly what happened. Maybe it was rape. Maybe she is lying. But that is to be judged in court, not on blogs. It appears you know Ryan and this is how you are basing your comments. Take an unbiased approach on the situation and think about how you would view it if your daughter was the victim.

  • LB

    I’m with realllly. Unless you were in the car- you really don’t know what happened. That’s what the legal system is here for.

  • XT

    What DGirl said was perfect, given that facts at hand.

    Sadly, I’ve heard many moms and dads in HP say the same thing that ScotsMom said. So it’s no wonder that their kids mimic that behaviour. The “Free Ryan Romo” facebook page says it all. Maybe if the parents stop acting like they are in high school, and start protecting our kids, we can teach them something.

  • khakijack

    @Realllllly Actually statutory rape does appear to be different under the eyes of the law, at least under the Romeo & Juliet type law enacted last year.

    Somebody asked a question about the laws in TX. I went and looked. If a minor over 15 has consensual sex with an adult within 4 years their age, the older may still be charged with a criminal offense like statutory rape, but they might be able to escape having to register as a sex offender. This is a pretty significant change in the law. The registration is also potentially retro-active. So if somebody was already on the sex offender registry for such a charge, they can petition to be removed.

    I don’t know the characters of either parties involved, so I have no opinion on guilt or innocence. However, two young lives will be forever changed by their decisions. Hopefully their peers will use this as a learning moment. They will all go to college soon where the people they might get in cars with or go home with aren’t the kids that they’ve watched growing up & whose parents are minutes away. Those decisions could be exponentially more dangerous.

  • Dad of daughters

    I just believe that if the girl really did not want to have sex she would have fought to get out of the car. I know she said no but doesn’t every girl have to act like they might not want to.If they don’t then they would be called promiscuous. I just don’t want an 18 year old to go to jail if the girl just was upset she lost her virginity, and losing your virginity can be painful and cause tears.

  • FatherofaSonandDaughter

    It seems many are focused on blame and that young women can and should be able to do anything they want including climbing into the back seat of a car with an older male after midnight and in whatever mental safe. I agree she should be able to do that. But at the same time being right doesn’t mean you are safe from events that sometimes spin out of control. I never understood how parents would let their freshman or sophomore daughters go to dances with seniors. (For that matter I can’t understand why parents would ever let their junior sons take freshman or senior sons take freshman or sophomore girls to dances either. The reason why statutory rape laws exist is for this very reason. There is a huge jump in emotional maturity between 16 and 18.

  • Seriously Y’All

    First Sandusky & Paterno, OJ Simpson and Mike Vick, and now this!

    All these guys “taken advantage” of by the same lying “victims.” It’s like a trend or something.

    Why can’t people just keep their mouths shut when they get raped?

  • Bill Johnson

    Can any of you lawyers tell us if this young man is in trouble even if it was consensual due to the girl’s age? If so, it looks like he has already admitted to the sex on tape. He might be up a crik as we used to say.

  • Neal

    @Ash: I can’t – and won’t – comment about this particular case because I know nothing about it or the people involved, but the evaluation by a physician or nurse of whether the sex was consensual is somewhat subjective. ANY medical diagnosis is subjective to some degree. Usually, the attending doctor/nurse will classify the injuries as “consistent” with sexual assault, without specifically saying whether it was consensual because they weren’t there when it happened. But a professional with the right experience and training is certainly in a position to make an educated diagnosis.

    Sometimes, and I don’t know how often (I hope very rarely), they get it wrong. The most spectacular example I can think of was in the Duke lacrosse case. The sexual assault nurse specialist at Duke University Medical Center examined the purported victim and found injuries consistent with sexual assault. It turned out she wasn’t raped at all, although it that case there still is some question whether the nurse deliberately falsified her findings to favor the alleged victim.

    http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/duke-denies-wrongdoing-lax-cases

  • XT

    @ Dad of Daughters,

    For some reason, I don’t actually believe that you are in fact a Dad of Daughters. If you are, god bless your daughters. Same ignorant logic as “why don’t the abused wives just leave their abusive husbands”.

  • been there…

    I was raped as a teen by someone I knew.

    I’m an adult now and most still blame me saying I should have run away or fought back or what was I doing out past midnight.

    I was young and naive.

    It was like being in a bad dream where I was saying no and then just froze in terror.

    I had no idea that it was so easy to be raped. So fast. The clothes I had on were no barrier and were just easily pushed aside.

    Sex was something that was so foreign to me.

    Looking back, I was easy prey. Naive and young.

  • wondering

    My daughter considers Ryan a friend. She is horrified by the whole situation. She has chosen to support her friend until he is convicted in court, if that comes to pass. She cannot imagine her friend, who has always been kind to her, committing an act of rape. As a female, I am having a tough time watching her stand by him, but I am proud of her decision to let the judicial process resolve where her alliances will fall.

  • Seriously Y’All

    That Free Ryan Romo Facebook page is called doing the DA’s job for them.

    You idiots saying horrible things about this alleged victim are very efficiently building “a culture of rape and slut shaming in Highland Park” prosecution case.

    Uh, hello, you stupid, Parkies. The Free Ryan Facebook Page is currently being screen captured by the DA’s office and some of Ryan’s “friend’s” nastiest comments about the alleged victim are going to read at Ryan’s trial. You can bet on it. Way to do the DA’s job for them. Way to smash Ryan’s defense. Way to exercise your free speech you morons.

    What is Slut Shaming? Here’s a ticket to the clue train, Parkies. All aboard!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXH2K7OC37s

  • Jen

    I am outraged and disgusted by the comments on this post who are blaming the victim.

  • Allie

    My comment:

    @A. Thank you for your comments. I think you represent reality, and I appreciate what you wrote.

    I live in HP and my 3 daughters were born and raised here and went through the HPISD.

    I do not appreciate the blame people are placing on the victim or the perpetrator, since none of us were in the car with the couple….as has been said many times.

    I do wish that the victim knew that if she didn’t want to have sex with the guy, that she shouldn’t have put herself in that position (of getting in the back of the suv to lie down).

    This does not put the blame on her, but it would help her to convict a rapist.

    I hate that this whole scenario happened at all! But there is nothing new about any of this.

    Consensual sex among minors and rape have been around since the beginning of time.

    Parents who try to make things right for their children (whether by accusing a young man of rape when it did, or did not happen, or by claiming that their son had consensual sex with a girl) have been around as long as I can remember and have read about.

    I do not appreciate the remarks of those who bash HPHS parents.

    Overly involved parents and those who bail their children out of everything exists everywhere. The HPHS and other high schools everywhere, public and private, where the parents are successful and educated, are going to be involved, caring, and want the very best for their child. Having financial resources makes it easier, but it isnt necessary.

    In other words there will always be mothers and fathers who take things to extremes regarding their children’s lives.

    I’m sorry some feel the need to say that they’ve left the Park Cities and are glad they are gone. Something obviously upset them, but I doubt that they won’t find a similar situation in the schools their children go to.

    For those who live outside the Park Cities; give it a rest! We read about ESD all last year. It’s everywhere! And it is at your school too!

    My question is:
    if the young victim is under age in the state of Texas, and Ryan is charged with rape, will he also be tagged as a sex offender?

  • Anne10012

    This is to all of the people who say “I Know Ryan.”
    People only show you the side of them that they want you to see.
    There were only two people in the car that night.
    They both have two different stories.
    A judge and jury will have to figure out whose telling the truth.

  • Edward

    @ Allie – This sentence in your post says it all:

    “I do wish that the victim knew that if she didn’t want to have sex with the guy, that she shouldn’t have put herself in that position (of getting in the back of the suv to lie down).

    I’m having trouble with what appears to be an opinion held by a heck of a lot of people (apparently both students AND parents) that somehow girls are “asking for it” by doing x,y, or z.

  • Scott

    Regardless of consent, a crime has been committed here by Romo if the victim is 15 years old, as many indicate, and Romo is turning 19 this week. Sexual Assault under Texas Penal Code 22.011 defines a child as 17 and younger. There is a Romeo & Juliet defense if the individuals involved were not more than three years apart in age. Romo and the victim are more than 3 years apart in age if the victim is still 15. In this case, Romo has committed sexual assault, by his own admission, per the quotes from this article.

    Many blame the victim for putting herself in a situation where she could be sexually assaulted. Just as important is that an adult, Romo, put himself in a situation where he was alone with a minor under he age of consent. Regardless of consent, this was a very poor decision that led to this awful outcome.

  • southernbelle

    If her story is true and she asked him to stop then he should have. Just because a girl gets into the back seat doesn’t mean she wants to have sex.

    I am sure that Ryan wan’t even thinking of their age difference at the time and the ramifications of the age difference. I am not justifying his actions at all and fully believe he crossed the line in my opinion.

    It may be a good time to visit with your teens and explain to them how a different set of laws is in place for them when they turn 18! They are then considered adults! Scary….

  • khakijack

    @Scott, from what I can tell the 3 year age difference is part of the old Romeo and Juliet clause, and it applied to teens that were both under 17. There was a new Romeo and Juliet law/clause enacted in Sept. 2011 that includes a four year age gap that crosses above the age of 17. It doesn’t apply do the statutory charges themselves, but may save the older from being labeled a sex offender.

    http://knowledgebase.findlaw.com/kb/2011/Sep/342093.html

    If I’m reading this wrong, feel free to correct me. I found this information multiple places on the web, but I also found a couple of news stories that seemed to be a little mixed up on the details.

  • Scott

    @khakijack, great point to bring up. SB198, as you mention, only applies to the requirement to register as a sex offender as a consequence of a criminal act if the two parties were within 4 years of each other. Statutory rape still applies here, as SB198 does not change the three year affirmative defense in 22.011(e)(2)(A).

    Per SB198, Romo will not have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life if, and only if, age is the sole reason for the criminal case, even though he is within 4 years of the victim.

  • khakijack

    Thanks for the clarification Scott. While this case alleges non-consensual sex, more students should know these laws. I can think of several HS romances that if sexual would have still been considered statutory and might even have resulted in sex offender status.

  • Ps

    As awful as the whole thing is, my kids (who would REALLY prefer to not talk with their parents about anything sexual) have had quite a talking to as a result of this…
    Maybe everybody could step back and not be judge and jury at this stage.

  • Edward

    Every young man who is involved in a relationship that qualifies under those age difference rules needs to REALLY think about what is going on. There are many cases where the parents become involved and file charges.

    These laws are even more important in schools like HP where so many “athletes” have been held back as kids and are 19+ year old seniors. The old “we’re just kids” doesn’t apply anymore.

  • Billy

    He should get the death penalty

  • Lynn

    The girl is 16. The facts of this case are not public but are different from many of the comments that are negative toward RR.

    In terms of the comment about the UP police not putting someone into the county jail unless they are guilty, boy is that so not true. All it takes in Texas is two people swearing something happened and you can have anyone arrested. Certain persons have been very effective crying and lying on cue in order to have someone arrested. But, the truth ALWAYS comes out. Those who lie have lied before and will lie again and the evidence always proves out.

    It’s incredibly sad that RRs name is thrown through the mud under the assumption of guilt, and that he cannot attend school, that his entire future will always be tainted by this.

    I’m not saying this applies in this case although I will say I do not believe RR is a liar, and he certainly did not confess to any rape in the taped conversations by GI JOE detectives who “are sure they got him!” in the cases where a juvenile lies and is found later on to have lied that juvenile is generally not charged with a crime. And, in reality when adults do it they also are not charged, because the UP police then want to forget the entire case and the person accused is the one whose reputation is ruined, who has spent a fortune in legal fees while the lying accuser has nothing happen to him or her.

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