Law and Order

Romo family sues son's rape accuser for defamation and malicious prosecution

Romo family sues son's rape accuser for defamation

Ryan Romo playing baseball for Highland Park High School
Ryan Romo was a Major League Baseball prospect before he was charged with sexual assault.  Photo courtesy of Munck Wilson Mandala

UPDATE: The defendant's family has released a statement responding to the lawsuit. The story has been changed to reflect this new information. 

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Former Highland Park High School baseball standout Ryan Romo has filed a defamation lawsuit against the 16-year-old girl who accused him of rape in October.

In January, a Dallas grand jury declined to indict Romo, 19, on charges of sexual assault of a child. His accuser’s name has not been released, because she was a minor at the time of the incident.

In the suit, Romo family attorney Mark Senter says that the girl “was used as a pawn to further her parents’ ‘get rich quick’ scheme.”

Romo’s parents, Adam and Tammy, are also parties to the suit. They are seeking exemplary damages for defamation, negligence and malicious prosecution. The girl’s parents, along with her stepfather, are also defendants in the case.

  The lawsuits says the defendants coerced their daughter into making false statements to the police for their own financial gain.

The lawsuits says the defendants coerced their daughter into making false statements to the police for their own financial gain.

As a result of the charges, the suit says Ryan Romo “lost his college baseball opportunities and is no longer a potential Major League Baseball prospect.”

Before the case went before the grand jury, and after Ryan had submitted to a four-hour polygraph test, the defendants reportedly approached the Romos and offered to drop the criminal charges in exchange for money and other demands.

The Romos declined, preferring instead to see their son’s name cleared. Meanwhile, the girl’s family spoke to the Dallas Morning News about the case and urged “rape awareness.”

“[The family’s] comments to the media and to others was part and parcel of their plan to force the Romos into a monetary settlement,” the suit says.

Romo was an 18-year-old senior at Highland Park High School when he was charged with sexual assault of a child. He admitted to having a sexual encounter with a peer after an October 27 concert but maintains it was consensual.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Romo left a Ghostland Observatory concert at the Palladium Ballroom with a 16-year-old female Highland Park student. The two took a cab to Romo’s Chevrolet Tahoe; their stories differ about what happened subsequently.

The girl says Romo forced himself on her after she told him “no” and to stop.

According to the Romos’ lawsuit, Ryan asked the girl point blank if she wanted to have sex in the backseat of his car. She reportedly answered “yes” and even gave Ryan “instructions” on how to proceed.

At one point, the suit alleges, the girl told Ryan to “put it in all the way” and then to “wait” because she was in pain. The lawsuit also says that Ryan resumed when she told him, “Okay, I’m good.”

After the teens had sex, Ryan allegedly declined the girl’s offer to sleep over and drove her home.

The girl would later undergo a rape exam, which showed trauma consistent with force, and file a report with the University Park Police. In conversations recorded by police, Ryan admitted to having sex with the girl. 

Two days later, Ryan was arrested in his front yard.

“In its rush to judgment, the University Park Police Department failed to conduct any, much less an adequate investigation into the underlying facts and, importantly, failed to ascertain the veracity and credibility of Ryan’s accuser,” the suit says.

The lawsuit also catalogs reports of several other sexual encounters between the girl and other Highland Park students, as well as her parents’ reported knowledge and acceptance of such activities. 

“It is this pattern of activity and lack of parenting that contributed directly and proximately to the decision [by the girl] to engage in consensual sex with Ryan and others,” the suit says.

In response to the lawsuit, the defendant's family released the following statement through attorney Blake Beckham. 

The entirety of the frivolous lawsuit is based on the alleged results of Ryan Romo’s lie detector exam. No Texas Judge will allow a jury in a civil suit to hear about the alleged results of a lie detector test, since lie detector tests are unreliable and simply not admissible. The lawsuit is trumped up, and contains countless misrepresentations and falsities. The family looks forward to its day in Court. When the jury hears all of the evidence, especially from the girl’s treating OB/GYN (who was not called as a witness during the grand jury matter), then the jury will learn the truth about Ryan Romo.