Back in March, after a grand jury declined to indict him on charges of rape, former Highland Park High School student Ryan Romo sued his accuser and her family. The complaint alleged five separate counts of misconduct, leveled at different family members. Among them: malicious prosecution, negligence and vicarious liability, negligent supervision of the girl (identified by the initials S.W.) and defamation. The complaint was filled with very detailed, very explicit allegations about the sexual behavior of 16-year-old S.W. and the nature of her family life. The Romos accused her of filing a false rape report with the University Park Police as part of a byzantine "get rich quick" scheme perpetrated by her parents.
It was a difficult read. In an emailed response sent to us the same afternoon, one of the attorneys for the girl's family, Blake Beckham, said the suit contained "countless misrepresentations and falsities," adding, "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."
Yesterday, the girl and her family filed a response, which is much shorter and much more technical. The girl's mother, speaking as her "next friend" (legal representative in the court system), denies "all and singular, each and every allegation" in the complaint.
The response also points out that although the plaintiffs asked for unspecified damages, they failed to name a maximum amount they want to be awarded to them, which the girl's lawyers say is against Texas' Rules of Civil Procedure. They also say that allowing the suit to go forward with no specific maximum damage amount would violate the defendants' due process rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
The defendants aren't asking for the suit to be dropped wholesale, however. They, too, are demanding a trial by jury.
We've put in a call to the attorney who filed the suit, Dennis D. Conder, and will update if we hear back.