Back in January, a grand jury declined to indict 19-year-old Ryan Romo, the former Highland Park High School student accused of rape by a younger classmate. The girl alleged that Romo raped her in the back seat of his car following an October Ghostland Observatory concert at the Palladium Ballroom.
When the grand jury passed on Romo's case, his attorney, Mark Senter, said that "truth and justice" had prevailed in the case. He added that the Romo family "hadn't gotten around" to deciding whether or not they'd sue Ryan's accuser.
It appears they've made that decision: Today, Romo, along with parents Adam Romo Jr. and Tammy Romo, filed suit in civil district court against the girl and her family. The girl, now 16, is referred to in the court documents only by the initials S.W. The lawsuit was first reported by CultureMap .
In his complaint, Senter and fellow attorney Jane R. Neiswender accuses the girl's family of exercising "little, if any parental supervision," and allowing the girl and her friends to drink vodka from water bottles on their way to the concert. S.W. is then accused of hatching a plan to "target" Ryan for a hook-up, as the lawsuit puts it.
The girl's family has not yet filed a response to the suit and could not immediately be reached for comment. We'll update this with their response if we get one.
"Unbeknownst to Ryan," the lawsuit continues, "S.W. made it known to her peers that she intended to 'hook up' with Ryan that night." In graphic detail, the suit then alleges that S.W. was "more than a willing participant" to the sexual activity than took place in Romo's car.
Senter goes on to accuse the girl's family of using her as "a pawn" in a "get rich quick" scheme, alleging that they were "living beyond their means" and had to borrow money from friends to get out of credit card debt.
"This fact was confirmed by the actions of [the family] when they demanded money from the Romos in exchange for dropping the charges against Ryan," the complaint continues. "In fact, S.W. told friends she did not want to press charges against Ryan and ruin his life."
The complaint goes on to accuse S.W. of filing a false rape report with University Park police, and, in turn, accuses the UP police of failing to conduct "any, much less an adequte investigation into the underlying facts." It then goes into explicit allegations of previous sexual behavior by the girl with other boys, and accuses her mother of having "a permissive nature regarding sexual relations."
Senter also says that the two families met to discuss the allegations, after Romo had taken a four-hour polygraph test, which he passed. At that point, the lawyer says, the girl's family asked the Romos for an unspecified sum in return for dropping the charges, which the Romos then refused.
The suit claims that all three Romos have suffered "physical, emotional and financial/economic damages." Ryan Romo is said to have suffered harm to his reputation, in large part due to the media attention around the case, as well as "loss of college scholarship opportunities" and "Major League Baseball opportunities."
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In all, the Romos allege five counts of misconduct: malicious prosecution, negligence and vicarious liability, negligence, negligent supervision of S.W., and defamation. The family is seeking unspecified damages, as well as court costs and attorneys' fees. They're requesting a jury trial.
Hard to see how this could get much uglier, but it probably will.
Update, 6:45 p.m.: Blake Beckham, an attorney for the girl's family, just sent over this statement via email:
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.