A Highland Park Student is Accused of Rape, and Culture Map Kicks Off the Victim Blaming

Categories: Crime

romo mugshot.jpg
Romo's mugshot
Update, January 29, 2013: A Dallas County grand jury has declined to indict Romo.

On Tuesday, Ryan Adam Romo, an 18-year-old Highland Park High School senior and star baseball player, was charged with sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony. Romo is accused of raping a HPHS classmate after a Ghostland Observatory concert at the Palladium Ballroom Saturday night.

Given the ingredients involved -- a prominent high school athlete, a rape allegation, and an alleged victim who knows the person she's accusing -- it seemed inevitable that there would be a lot of chatter about the case, and probably some poorly informed opinionizing from the peanut gallery. We just thought it might take longer than one day.

Shows what we know. Claire St. Amant, the managing editor at Culture Map Dallas, the newish digital-media venture, dove right in with both feet yesterday, in a bizarre article that asks, "Is this Highland Park baseball star a rapist?"

St. Amant doesn't have the answer to that, obviously -- the ink is barely dry on Romo's bond paperwork after his release from Lew Sterrett Tuesday. There is no public information available apart from the arrest warrant affidavit.

Here's what we do know: according to the arrest warrant affidavit, the alleged victim and Romo "know of each other only in a school setting." After the concert, they caught a cab together to Romo's Chevy Tahoe. They climbed in the back seat and began kissing, the affidavit says. But when Romo eventually removed his pants, the victim told him she didn't want to have sex.

"Defendant Romo told Victim Smith [a pseudonym] it would be ok and to allow it to happen," the affidavit reads. The girl then screamed and told Romo to stop several times as he raped her, she told investigators. After it was over, he drove her home; her mother noticed she was upset and asked what had happened. Eventually the girl told her: "I said no, but he didn't care."

The girl was taken to Medical Center of Plano; a sexual assault exam revealed vaginal tearing and and abrasions on her buttocks. After a follow-up exam with her regular gynecologist, the doctor told investigators he believed the trauma he observed "to have been forceful."

University Park Police recorded two conversations between the alleged victim and Romo between Sunday and Tuesday. In the first, he told her he'd had fun and that the two should "hang out again." He also offered to buy her the morning-after pill "if she was really worried about it," the affidavit reads. During the second, she told him: "I wish it didn't happen like that," and "Like I wish, cause I said stop... I said no... I wish you'd stopped, you know, or not done it."

Romo replied, "Okay, you're making me feel bad. Wow."


My Voice Nation Help
145 comments
mike
mike

this is really poor journalism.  There is obviously sketchy evidence in this case.  I find it incredibly, almost impossibly, hard to believe that the girl leave a concert with a guy, get in his car, get in the back seat, take her clothes off, get raped, then get a ride home from the rapist.  All with no bruises and no witnesses.

 

  Why have you released this kids name?  Now, even if this gets cleared up, it will follow him for life.

 

Dallas Observer- I hope you get sued for slander and libel.

pete222
pete222

I'm a scientist, not a speller.  I agree, just "hang 'em high"!

 

Grandpappy told my pappy, now in my day son, a man had to answer for the deeds that he done.

Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up them bad boys and hang them high in the street - Willie

johnorvig
johnorvig

i agree, but I wouldn't call this statutory rape if I was making the laws.  She is a sophomore and he is a senior.  In my opinion, that's not THAT crazy.  The non-consensual allegation is much more serious.  They should either separate high schools such that 9th/10th graders attend a different school than 11th/12th graders, or refine the statutory rape laws such that if both parties in high school, it doesn't apply.   

 

Just face it, if teenagers attend the same school, there will be relationships of all sorts.

thunderfence
thunderfence

When is it ever okay to have sex with a 15 yr old? ----- Never under any circumstances ----- Why is there even a discussion? ---- I have no fucking idea how people believe some of the things they believe ------ Add the belief that intercourse with a 15 yr old is okay when "consensual "----- -- . . . how old was mary when the heavenly father wronged joe and opened that shit out? ..Explains why homeboy took her Africa directly

john
john

I wish they would create some sort of intermediate punishment for this sort of offense.  Obviously this guy is a douche bag, and probably pressured this girl into the situation since he is obviously well known around campus.  Is it really fair to classify this as the same sort of rape that you would if the female was completely not consenting?  I bet what happened was that she said no at some point while they were hooking up, but not very assertively and continued hooking up with him.  She remembers saying 'no' at some point, but doesn't remember giving body language that says otherwise.  Depending on your definition, this could be rape, but not the same kind of rape as if it was truly forceful.  Either way, he shouldn't be treating women like this and deserves to learn a lesson, but probably not to ruin his entire life.

 

I dunno, maybe I'm biased.  In college I hooked up with a girl 3-4 times.  When she saw me at a party with another female, she became enraged, and began spreading rumors that I raped her.  When I confronted her about the situation, she told me that she said 'no' the first time we hooked up.  Indeed, she had said 'no' at some point, and I stopped immediately.  After we kissed for a while longer, she obviously changed her mind, even got on top of me at some point, and came back a few other nights.  Yet somehow, once she was angry at me, all she remembered was that at some point she didn't want to do this.   This girl also through eggs all over my car and told me that if I told the police about the eggs, she would tell them I raped her.    Long story short, I just try to keep my pants on now....  This guy should do the same.

 

 

MisterMean
MisterMean

It has always seemed to me that high school athletes (football/baseball/soccer players-especially those in high income families) tend to feel that they are entitled to do what ever they want.  The rules do not apply to THEM.   I question first why we even have high school sports (with the latest concern with head injuries for football) as the primary focus-- it is not Johnny passing that pig skin, hitting home runs or kicking goals; but, should be education.  Getting them graduated and into the work force successfully.   Why are education dollars (tax dollars) supporting this (60 Million for example in Allen’s football stadium) when only a very few actually can end up making a living (not too successful at that considering professional sports figures who can not manage their finances) at it?

 

 Having said that it seems again to me that this too could be an insight into the self privilege of those who support Romney.   Romney/Ryan (also Todd  Akins & Rick Perry  et. al) the rape ticket.

mother
mother

I have never replied to a story on line before but this discussion has me at the point of tears. I am the mother of a son who was in a simular situation years ago. My son was falsly accused of rape by a 16 year old girl. He was 17 at the time and a baseball player. The justice system is very flawed in these cases. My son was arrested and like the responce to this case assumed guily by some. Those who knew him tried to suppport him but the events that transpired have left a life of pain for my son. He lost his entire year of baseball while being forced to attend an alternative school  waiting to go before the Grand Jury. (punished before proven guilty) The Grand Jury did not believe the girls story and No Billed the case. Although he was never tried or proven guilty he has continued to be punished by the fact that he was arrested. He was turned down when he applied to be a Park Ranger because of the arrest record. He has been denied apparatments and other things because the arrest showes when his name is looked up. We live in a society where you are Guily even if proven inocent. For those of you who think he was guilty - the girl did admit a year later to her friends that she had lied. She lied because she got home late and did not want to have her parents mad at her. She said she regreated what she had done but that will never give back what he lost.

I do not know if this young man is guilty or innocent and neither does anyone who was not there. I caution all of you who are so quick to judge. You may find yourself in a situation some day where you are the one who is falsy accused. Remember anyone can be arrested for something that does not make you guilty.

HPGRAD02
HPGRAD02

How far is she gonna take this...? Being in the loop of this close knit community, I know her parents are obviously the driving force behind it. The "set up" phone calls with questions leading him to say the right things for police evidence are just sketchy. Everyone I have heard from say the were on ECSTASY (something very common with these concerts and kids since they cant "legally" drink alcohol) which changes the whole situation. I had a buddy in high school whose life was pretty close to ruined because a girl was lying until a week before the court date. She finally told the truth that it was consensual and she didn't want her parents or BOYFRIEND to think she was a slut or cheated. Do not get me wrong, It could 100% be a rape and he should go to Jail. I just think we all need to take a step back before scolding him (and especially his father) for an accusation. Wait for the gavel to drop before you throw stones and slang mud. 

 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Sounds like the work of god to me.

Alicia Prado
Alicia Prado

Good on calling them out. CultureMap has a really haughty air to their writing and have rubbed me the wrong way since even before they officially debuted. They body-snarked Lady Gaga awhile back and when I called them out on it, no rebuttal. Seems they like to play devil's advocate, which I can appreciate, but it looks really bad when a woman journalist slut-shames a child.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The greater the spread between the ages, the longer the sentence.

 

15 to 18 won't be too bad, unless he is convicted of forcible rape, and that will take her testimony.

 

The age of consent in Texas is 17 (Texas Penal Code Section 21.11). However, "...It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor...was not more than three years older than the victim and of the opposite sex...(and) did not use duress, force, or a threat against the victim at the time of the offence" and is not a registered sex offender Section 21.11 (b), Section 22.011 (e).  However, sex with a child under the age of 14 is considered aggravated sexual assault Section 22.021 (a.2.B).

travishuse
travishuse

Is there any way I can opt out of seeing Anna Merlan's lame-ass stories on this site? Maybe it's a product of writing crime stories, or an editorial thing, but my process of reading the articles winds up the same. I'll start out like this: "Oh, what a terrible thing, how awful! I should read this."By the end of the article: "UGH WHO THE FUCK CARES." 

pete222
pete222

My question is:  Why did the parents let either of them go to this concert?  Well, he's old enough to be in college.  A "red-shirted" first-grader held back for sports, no doubt.  And a 15-year old at the Palladium?  Come on!

jsDFW
jsDFW

Physical evidence speaks louder than words.

mvpben
mvpben

Y'all must have forgotten about being innocent until proven guilty. Considering he hasn't even talked, don't speak too soon. He's known as a very popular guy who can get with any girl at HPHS. Before you make up your minds about him, wait until he speaks.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

There's many things I want to say about this, but i'll sum it up accordingly: The press needs to report the facts, the courts needs to handle the judgement. What bothers me in this case is an outlet (not the DO) played the "boys will be boys" angle, which is disturbing in its own right..

Being Meg
Being Meg

I recently started following Culture Map, but the way they handled this one is disgusting and I just "unliked" their page. I won't be supporting them in the future. They may have liberated women authors, but when liberated equates to throwing alleged rape victims under the bus, I'm out. It looks like they might be pandering to a different sort of base than I thought originally.

Emily Noble
Emily Noble

Being a recent HP grad... and being raised in the park cities... I can say that this happens more often that we'd like to admit. I'm very proud of that brave girl and her family for reporting him. Don't be fooled by the "Park Cities" name and think bad things don't happen, they just get brushed under the rug quickly.

Daniel
Daniel

An unplumbed angle here is that the girl is apparently sufficiently young to warrant a "sexual assault of a child" charge. So even if the encounter was not forcible, as her gynecologist believes it was, he will still be found guilty. 

 

 

Bloop
Bloop

Anyone have a link to the official affidavit?

Jordan Michel
Jordan Michel

I can't say I "like" this story, but I appreciate you reporting it. I didn't even click the link when I saw it in the Culture Map email this morning. But now that I know what they reported, I'm pretty disgusted. Culture Map has decent coverage of Dallas events, restaurants, etc. They should stick to what they know.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

Except it states in the article that she did have injuries that could be related to rape, and this "kid's" (not a kid, he's 18) name was already released.

Try again.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

It's not statutory rape, it's sexual assault of a child. Statutory rape would mean that it's rape because of the difference in ages (and therefore lack of ability to consent).

He wasn't charged with statutory rape (it's not statutory rape if the girl is 17, or if they are within 3 years age of each other), he was charged with sexual assault of a child. And it doesn't matter how far apart their ages are because he's being charged with rape. She is a child by law, regardless of consent laws.

thunderfence
thunderfence

*whispering/mumbling to myself* im smarter than you

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

What do you mean, "completely not consenting"?

Did you even read the article? The girl was found to have physical evidence of forceful rape.

I'm not sure what's more depressing, the need for people to defend this guy, or the lack of reading comprehension being shown here.

pete222
pete222

 @john

 College ain't high school.  Can you spell:   j-a-i-l-b-a-i-t?

CraigT42
CraigT42

 @HPGRAD02 so your support of the rapist is based on the fact that was on illegal drugs that he then provided for the minor he raped?

 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Montemalone - Some people believe that the troublesome parts were put there by a Albino cow.

mewkins
mewkins

 @pete222  You've made the assumption that her parents allowed her to go.  Come on Pete. Teenagers lie to their parents all the time because they want to go somewhere they shouldn't.  Didn't you ever wonder why your kids went to go see so many movies?

getalife
getalife

@pete222 Wrong headed decisions by parents, who drank the kool aid doesn't mean it's okay for their daughter to get raped.

CraigT42
CraigT42

 @mvpben and he has just (allegedly) shown the entire world how he gets any girl he wants.

 

Daniel
Daniel

 @mvpben DEFENDANT: "Judge, I'm entitled to any girl in this town -- I'm just that handsome and athletic."

 

JUDGE (strokes chin thoughtfully): Hmmm ... and you speak real pretty too ... diiiis-MISSED!!!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @mvpben get with "any" girl huh?  Wow didnt know that omitted you from rape charges.  Seems his spoken words on the recorded phone calls say enough

mother
mother

Are you the judge and jury? Sounds like you have already convicted him. What happened to due process?

HPGRAD02
HPGRAD02

 @CraigT42 You obviously did not read the entire comment before judging me, just like everyone else on Romo who only got part of the story and formed their opinion. I am sure someone of your ignorance would love to think it was him who provided the drugs, with the intention of raping her. This girl has the ability to obtain them herself and could do so at any rave within 10 minutes of arriving. If you think I support rapists by that comment, then you my friend are an idiot. I support the truth, our justice system, and that thing they call Common Law or "Innocent until proven Guilty"

pete222
pete222

 @mewkins

 Ronald Regan was my hero: "Trust, but verify." 

 I've stayed on top of them...it doesn't hurt, I guess, that I'm still pretty "up" on telecom and computers.

pete222
pete222

 @getalife  @pete222

 I live in the Bubble and have managed to graduate 3 from HPHS without any DWIs or MIPs.  Not that it was easy thanks to parents who make their kids feel entitled and above the law.  Too many times I've seen Daddy fix things when a better parenting skill would have been to let Junior deal with the consequences.  Couple of years ago some 8th graders were diciplined by the HPISD for drinking, and, they boys couldn't play in 3 football games in 9th grade as a result.  It's just too much...

 

 

pete222
pete222

 @getalife  @pete222

 Don't get me wrong, please.  She was under 17, and by definition, was raped, if not forcably raped.  My sympathy is completely with her.  I just believe her parents failed her.  Let's hope society doesn't and this kid finds out how wrong he was...if all is as it seems.

mewkins
mewkins

 @CraigT42  @mvpben  That's the thing. Scoring chicks is easy for them. They expect it. And when they come across someone who rejects them they get pissed. I'm sure there are guys like that in every high school. There was in mine.  All the girls knew who they were and the guys did too. 

James080
James080 topcommenter

 @ScottsMerkin  @mvpben What mvpben is trying to sell is that the accused is likely innocent because he doesn't need to rape to have sex with whomever he chooses. What mvpben is ignorant of is that rape is about inflecting violence and exercising power over the victim. Rape is not about fulfilling sexual urges or intimacy.

mewkins
mewkins

I guess it is harder for kids to get away with stuff like that nowadays. What with the cell phone tracking apps and what not.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @pete222  @getalife Awwww ... poor little abused children suffered so greatly and were miserable that they couldn't play in three football games ... I'm sure that their lives were tragically ruined by this clearly severe punishment ...

JerrySandusky
JerrySandusky

 @pete222  @getalife

 You bought the bubble ticket $$$$ now enjoy the ride Pete-y.

 

EXACTLY AS THE GOOD LORD INTENDED!

 

Really, NOW you shake your head?

mewkins
mewkins

Huh? What in my post reflected my "disgusting entitled values" or that I have any connection to Highland Park? I think you may have hit reply to the wrong post.

 

I was noting that in every highschool there are going to be males that act inappropriately, not necessarily violent, towards females in romantic situations when faced with rejection. Many times it is because they feel "entitled" because no one has ever told them "no".

tcufrog
tcufrog

 @mewkins  

You are a classic example for why we refused to move to Highland Park when we had the chance.  I don't want my sons to pick up the disgusting entitled values of the likes of you.  You disgust me and as a mother I feel sorry for yours.

friendlyquark
friendlyquark

@basicaustin @James080 @ScottsMerkin @mvpben You need to actually learn something about sexual predators before you spout off. Study first, then speak. Rape is about power, domination, and control. Sex is the method. People who are spoiled and used to getting their way all the time often commit violent acts when they are thwarted. I don't think that the OB/GYN's testimony should be ignored here. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...