Ryan Romo's Attorney: "Truth and Justice Prevailed" for the Highland Park Baseball Player Cleared of Rape Accusation

romo mugshot.jpg
Around 4 p.m. yesterday, a Dallas County grand jury declined to indict 19-year-old Ryan Romo, who was accused of raping a younger fellow student in the back of his Chevy Tahoe following a concert in late October.

At a sparsely attended press conference this afternoon, the Romo family's civil attorney, Mark Senter, read from a prepared statement, saying the family is "gratified and relieved to have this horrible nightmare finally behind us." Later on, during a Q&A session with reporters, Senter called Romo's experience "akin" to that of students in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

"We are happy that -- in the end -- truth and justice prevailed in the face of what was an absurdly false allegation," Senter continued (the full text of the statement is reprinted below). The family thanked their supporters for the "overwhelming support" they have received, adding, "We will never forget those who refused to jump to conclusions and waited for the truth to come out."

Senter is a civil attorney for the Romo family; Romo's criminal attorney, Reed Prospere, was not present at the press conference. After he finished reading from the statement, Senter took questions, the first of which dealt with a polygraph test that Romo took, the results of which were presented to the grand jury. The test, he said, "went into great detail about what went on in that backseat," including "whether there was consent or not consent."

In response to questions, Senter added later that Romo was "cross-examined for four hours on the exact issues of consent," what was said and what was done in the Tahoe. "He gave no negative answers and passed with flying colors."

The attorney said he had "no idea" what evidence University Park police "did or did not have" to arrest Romo, who he said was cuffed on his front lawn. "I believe the protocol is to get both sides of the story," Senter added.

Senter said that although he is "not an OB GYN," the rape exam performed on the girl by sexual assault examiners at Medical Center of Plano doesn't necessarily indicate rape. "Are you able to opine to medical certainty between forceful consensual sex and rape?" he asked.

"Was the young lady a virgin?" one of the reporters asked.

"I have no idea," Senter replied, after a moment.

The attorney also said that Romo has been finishing his studies at home but is still a Highland Park student. "Our hope is that he'll be allowed to re-enroll," he said, adding that the teen "has basically been in solitary confinement for several months."

But the stigma, Senter said, will linger. "His mugshot's all over the Internet."

There were several questions from the assembled reporters about whether the accusation would harm Romo's chances of being recruited to a D1 school.

"He's signable again," Senter replied. "This is clearly a big recruiting season." That said, he added, the allegation has set him back "unbelievably."

"It's akin to the kids who were students in New Orleans when Katrina came through," the attorney said.

A reporter asked if Senter was accusing the girl of "not telling the truth."

"The facts are he passed a polygraph," Senter said. "It appears that someone may be telling the truth and someone may not be." Later, he clarified that he believes "her version of what transpired in the police report is not accurate."

Senter wouldn't say definitively whether the family plans to sue the accuser's family, U.P. police, the D.A.'s office, or anybody else. He said the family is "still trying to heal," and "haven't gotten around" to deciding whether they'll sue. The purpose of the press conference, he added, was "not to address civil litigation."

Senter said that in the months between his arrest and the grand jury hearing, Romo "become a recluse," terrified that he would be "misconstrued" if he went out. When he heard the news of his non-indictment, the attorney said, "it was like a kid getting out of final exams. He's just glad it was over."

Full Statement From Attorney Mark S. Senter and the Romo Family:

The Romo family is gratified and relieved to finally have this horrible nightmare behind us. We are happy that -- in the end -- truth and justice prevailed in the face of what was an absurdly false allegation.

In this terrible process, we learned that between 90 to 95% of all cases presented to the Grand Jury result in indictment and criminal charges. Instead, in this case, Ryan has been cleared and for that we are truly grateful to the grand jurors who considered the evidence presented.

Only now, can we begin the process of putting our lives back together. As a family, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for the overwhelming support that we received from friends, acquaintances, and even people we did not know that we encountered in our immediate community and throughout North Texas. We will never forget those who refused to jump to conclusions and waited for the truth to come out."


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49 comments
Janik
Janik

Money talks.

Travis_Rex
Travis_Rex

Maybe this will be a lesson to him.  Don't mess with underage girls, ya douchenozzle!

mvpben
mvpben

At the time of the incident, RR was 18, turning 19 a week later. The girl was 16 at the time. That is under the 3 year law in the state of Texas. Also, there is way more evidence submitted besides a lie detector test. Yes, they may not be 100% accurate, but for a teenaged man to be cross-examined and pass with "flying colors" would be pretty difficult to pass unless you were telling the truth. For all of the people who think that the reason he was no-billed was due to the fact he had high-power attorneys, that may have played a minute role, but RR still had to stand in front of the grand jury. It's too bad this happened in the first place, but the truth always comes out, and this young man will slowly, but surely get his life back.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

In Merlanworld, if he does not successfully sue the accuser's family, U.P. police, and the D.A.'s office . . . he's guilty.

And there may be some truth to that.  For her world includes a big chunk of Public Opinion.  So if he relies upon being hired, marrying, associate, or move into neighborhoods . . . he will be subject to a background check.  He will need a counter-balance.

It's one of the four transgresses a guy can be accused of, and is guilty until proven innocent:

rape

homosexuality

pedophilia

you owe the IRS $500,000 (ha!).

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Wow, a press conference held by the attorney, that is a stonewall if one ever existed.


As far as the lawsuit against the accuser, Senter should know better.  Any complaint made by a person in good faith is an affirmative defense.  This is a basis of our legal system.  If anyone were subject to suit for having made a complaint that was later dismissed, then no one would ever be charged.  The girl in question believes that the sex was non consensual, and that is the end of the story.  Senter needs to go get a refund on his law degree.


Senter should also know that a no bill from a grand jury is just a finding that there is not sufficient cause to have a trial on a particular charge.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

If that kid was poor or a minority, or both, he'd be in jail by now.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@mvpben coaching the suspect is of no merit and value.  You should write that article the ABA, they've been stupidly ignoring your "sage" advice for centuries.

animas
animas

Yes, you are on your own in front of a Grand Jury. Your attorney is outside. It's just you the prosecutor and the jury. (as I recall from jury duty).

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs You do know that the Dallas County District Attorney is a Democrat, right?  You know, the man responsible for bringing the case to the grand jury?  

And it wasn't the "administration" of either the state or the county that refused to indict.  It was the grand jury.  Why the grand jury didn't indict is a mystery, but it is not a good idea to speculate about it given conflicting information publicly available.  

mcdallas
mcdallas

@bvckvs 1) Thanks for your attempt to make this a partisan issue.  2) Shall I call you "god" or is there another term you'd prefer us to use?... you know, since you know everything.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul there should be evidence of a struggle, one would assume that bruising of wrists or other signs of struggle or restraint should be visible.  Otherwise, the declaration that she said "no" without any witness corroboration is literally a he said, she said.

Seekingthetruth
Seekingthetruth

If it was lies that created tremendous financial and reputational harm to the "accused", then absolutely civil action should be considered. I guarantee that this is more than just a case of "not enough evidence". There is definitely more to the story.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@GuitarPlayer Right.  Because every single crime that happens in poor neighborhoods is reported and followed up with police action.  

@animas BTW: lots of folks graduate HS at age 19 if they are held back a year.  Are you discriminating against those with academic issues?

animas
animas

He is 19 years old not 18 years old.  I thought the Park Cities had "superior" schools.  What is a 19 year old still doing in high school?  He is also supposedly a potential scholarship eligible college basketball prospect.  Perhaps that is just PR also.

mvpben
mvpben

@scottindallas @mvpben well considering ignorant people like you who seem to think they know all about this case, it's awfully hard to take into account your non-sense, sarcastic talk. Having personal knowledge of this case gives me the chance to comment from a wholistic point of view.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Guesty I bet you'll find that the Grand Jury is principally composed of conservative types.  I don't like rank partisanship either, but it's not utterly irrelevant either.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@scottindallaslas@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul

Scott:

Check out: http://www.clinictime.net/Vaginal-Tear-Treatment.html

As far as the complaint is concerned, please go back and reread what I said about complaints.  If the young lady believes that she was raped then she is well within her rights to file a complaint.  Not all rape victims have bruises or defensive wounds.

The question of whether or not there is sufficient evidence to lead to a conclusion that a crime may have been committed and that someone should be charged with a crime is up to the grand jury.  In this case, the grand jury decided that there was not sufficient evidence to charge someone with a crime.  

The question of whether or not a crime did or did not occur is a matter for the jury to decided based upon the evidence presented in trial

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Seekingthetruth  

If you knowingly file a false complaint, you are subject to not only criminal prosecution but civil liability.


To file a criminal complaint, all that is required is that you, the complainant, believe the complaint to be true.


I'm not a girl/lady, but vaginal tearing and abrasions on the buttocks doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun -- even if it was consensual.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@Seekingthetruth I agree that there may be more to the story.  If I'm the parent of either kid, I have a meeting with both families rather than let this proceed in any civil lit.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@mcdallas  "Right.  Because every single crime that happens in poor neighborhoods is reported and followed up with police action."

I wasn't talking about that. Jesus, pay attention. I bet there are a lot of crimes in Highland Park that don't get reported either. It's when they are and an arrest has been made a rich parent can take advantage. The poor and minority usually can't. Unless of course, one is a RICH minority. Hey hey, OJ!!!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@mcdallas Where in the holy blue hell is discrimination mentioned, besides from you? But we can certainly make fun of a 19 year old still in high school because they're either exploiting the athletic system, stupid, or both.

mvpben
mvpben

@animas first off, he's being recruited for baseball, not basketball. Lets get our facts straightened before you throw a tantrum. Also, being 19 is a common age in the school system at Highland Park due to the athletic competition. He's still a high school senior and by no means should he be banned from hanging out with people 2 grades below him. I'm sure some people commenting are married to people with an age difference of more than 3 years, so lets not be hypocritical.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@animas

Redshirting: Holding kids back from kindergarten

July 8, 2012 4:00 PM

Morley Safer reports on the rising trend of "redshirting," delaying kindergarten until children are 6 years old. Will this make these students more successful in school and life?

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs @Guesty I have researched and found nothing to suggest she was drunk other than random speculation in comments.  

I will not presume that he is a rapist any more than I would presume that she made it up.  I don't know.  Neither do you.  The difference is that you have convinced yourself that you "know" things that are unknown, and that because you know these things that are unknown, you are arguing from a position of "intelligence."  That is the opposite of intelligence.  

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs @Guesty WTF.  I am not a conservative.  I, like many liberals, have issues with the way the criminal justice system chews up and spits people out, without regard for the race of the accused.  It is very rare for an accused to avoid an indictment, even a very wealthy accused.  Usually, the system (and apparently you) assumes the guilt of the accused without giving much of an opportunity to defend oneself until trial, and even then the deck is almost always stacked against the defendant.  

Where has it been said that she was drunk?  I haven't seen that.  If it is true, then that would alone be sufficient for an indictment (though I personally question rape charges when both parties are equally intoxicated).  The prosecution wouldn't be required to show anything more than the fact that she was too intoxicated to give consent because sex is admitted.         

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs @Guesty He isn't a football star, and I doubt any person on the grand jury ever heard of the kid before he came before them.  You need to have some perspective.  He was a "star" on a small time high school baseball team with a chance to maybe play small time college baseball (if he were a big time star, he'd be looking at being drafted professionally out of high school).  That might make him important at Highland Park High, but it makes him all but irrelevant to the vast majority of people in Dallas (including the most rabid of sports fans).   

I'm not saying star athletes don't get favorable treatment.  But when they do, usually you are talking about legitimate stars (e.g. college) and the cops and DA exercising discretion not to arrest or charge.  In some small towns, you also might get a jury that's biased in favor of an athlete.  But in a large metropolitan county with a grand jury mostly comprised of people who have never heard of a single Highland Park athlete except Matthew Stafford, I don't think that made any difference to anyone.    

And how is it that you know he raped her?  I'm not saying he didn't.  I don't know.  But I suspect you don't either.  

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs @Guesty @scottindallas If you notice, the comment I responded to specifically mentioned "Old conservative white guys."

And this kid was no "sports celebrity."  I am confident  that very few people ever heard of the kid before these stories ran.  

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs @Guesty @scottindallas You lack reading comprehension skills.  Members of the grand jury are not legal pros, they are selected by legal pros, just as all juries are selected by legal pros.  And I am no republican.  I just happen to know how the system works and prefer that people focus on the facts rather than their assumptions about a process of which they obviously have little to no knowledge.  You start with the assumption that there has been an injustice, and are obviously looking for a reason to explain that injustice.  But your explanation lacks merit.  That doesn't mean there hasn't been an injustice, but if there has, it isn't for the reason you think.

Guesty
Guesty

@scottindallas WTF are you talking about?  Take a look at the current crop of judges.  They aren't a collection of old white guys.  And they aren't very conservative.  I don't know if this kid did it.  And I don't know why the grand jury didn't indict.  But you and bvckvs are the ones living in the polarized world because you seem to believe that the grand jury must be a bunch of old white guys who refuse to indict rich privileged white athletes simply because there wasn't an indictment.  I've seen no evidence to support that theory other than speculation by you and bvckvs.     

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Or, are we to believe that because they're democrats, the judges are virtual gang bangers, walking with no pants beneath their robes, ballers ballin?   Good grief dude, you believe in such a polarized world, you've made the world of Sancho Panza, you're tilting at windmills built of strawmen. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Guesty @bvckvs @scottindallas Old conservative white guys, (democrat judges) select retired old white guys who can afford to sit on a grand jury for the time it takes. 

Guesty
Guesty

@bvckvs @Guesty @scottindallas There are two methods of selecting grand juries in Texas.  Either the district judge (all of whom are Democrats in Dallas County) selects between three and five “jury commissioners” who in turn select the grand jurors, or the grand jury is selected by the district judge from the same pool that would be a normal jury (i.e. selected by a Democratic judge from a pool that leans slightly Democratic).  Grand juries are not "legal pros" and in Dallas, are selected directly or indirectly by Democrats.  But every step of the way is controlled by elected officials of the county, which in Dallas, means Democrats.  Who do you think selects members of the Grand Jury?

Guesty
Guesty

@scottindallas @Guesty Why would you think that?  I'm not saying it isn't true, but local Democrats are responsible for selecting the members of the grand jury.  I'd be surprised if they picked mostly right-wingers.      

animas
animas

Whoa, I was the one who brought up the age issue, and I AM a little surprised about kids in swanky HP hanging aroung the hallowed halls of HS at that age.  The "red shirting" explains it, I guess.  Let's not fight about it.  I really didn't think about  (IQ?)discrimnation especially about kids in that neck of the woods, but I supppose it could be taken that way,given that the prior commenter indicates kids from the wrong side of the tracks might not get access to an expensive lawyer. (I agree).

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@mcdallas  "You asked where is discrimination mentioned except by me." 

No, that wasn't me. It was ScruffygeistI know what I said. 

Again, get your shit straight then come back to the discussion.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@GuitarPlayer You asked where is discrimination mentioned except by me.  I gave you the exact quote where it was mentioned.  Now you claim you weren't talking about that, so I guess that comment is exempt so your blanket statement remains?  Might I suggest that you pay attention?

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@Scruffygeist  "Try quoting the right person next time."

It seems that mcdallas has his head up his dallas.  LMAO

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@mcdallas Try quoting the right person next time. Animas said nothing about it. Yes, it was mentioned, my mistake, but a 19 year old of any background still in high school deserves mocking.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@Scruffygeist @mcdallas Where is discrimination mentioned?  How about "If that kid was poor or a minority, or both, he'd be in jail by now.".  Does that not suffice?  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Scruffygeist @mcdallas Ive heard parents are now holding their kids back on purpose to give them an advantage in athletics of being developed an extra year.  WTF is the world coming too

animas
animas

I  appreciate the correction but really I wasn't throwing a "tantrum".  There was an error in the reporting of the age in the original article which has since been corrected by Ms. Merlan .  I did see the Nightline-I thought- might have been another program- reporting about the kids being held back from Kindergarten in order to be "more competiitve" last summer, but I am still a little stunned by "kids" getting out of college (not even grad school) nearer to 30 than 22 years old. 

Janik
Janik

@holmantx @animas  Its not fair to people who enroll their kids in school at the correct age. Their kids are then in the same classes with other kids who are older, smarter and bigger than they are.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx @animas it has a huge effect.  the majority of pro athletes were all born before January, meaning they are older than their average classmates.  This effect diminishes over time, but it is an observable trend through professional drafts.

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