Grand Jury Fails to Indict Former Highland Park Student Ryan Romo in Alleged Rape

A Highland Park High School student accused of raping a fellow student following a concert in October will not be charged with the assault, after a Dallas County grand jury refused to indict the 19-year-old Monday.

A 16-year-old girl had told police that Ryan Romo, who no longer attends the school, had raped her in his Chevy Tahoe following a show at the Palladium Ballroom on Oct. 27. A rape exam indicated the girl had suffered a tear and abrasions, but Romo’s attorney, Reed Prospere, told the Morning News that the grand jury heard evidence from a polygraph in which Romo said the two had consensual sex.

The girl’s stepfather told the paper that the family “was extremely disheartened and dismayed”; additional charges will only come if more evidence is presented.


  • Brett Moore

    Wait. I’m confused about the polygraph thing.

    Does his belief that the sex was consensual mean that it was?

    • Robert Sanchez

      Not necessarily, but a defendant who honestly and reasonably believed that he had consent can’t be found culpable for rape.

  • sugar

    I didn’t think grand juries were supposed to hear defense evidence in their hearings, this sounds like some bullshit to me

  • Observer

    Once Reed Prospere was hired, everyone knew Romo would get off. Many believe that Prospere is the best at getting guilty clients off. Bet this is the case. Here arer some possible takeaway lessons – boys and girls should avoid the drunk one night stand urge, girls need to quit getting so sloppy drunk (seen it first hand, don’t hate), parents, teach your kids about entitlements, behaviour, consequences and do your job as parents – lots of failures out there. Romo – karmas a bitch buddy. Someday you will be the father of a daughter . . . .

  • Poole

    If we don’t think that pictures came out of this girl attending A GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY show on HALLOWEEN then we’re kidding ourselves. For all of those uniformed parents out there than are now crying foul, lets be clear: That was a drug and alcohol fueled rave, not just some innocent concert. And everyone attending those things knows it. Half the girls who attend those things, especially on Halloween, are only clothed in their underwear/swimsuits and furry boots. I don’t think the DA wanted to embarrass himself by standing in front of a blown up pic the defense had made of a wasted girl dressed up at a rave held on a weekday who willingly followed a guy to the backseat of his car and claim she was some innocent girl who was physically coerced. This wasn’t her first rodeo and this wasn’t merely the result of a polygraph test.

  • alan

    The grand jury “failed” to indict Romo only in the sense that Bradford Pearson’s mother “failed” to abort Bradford Pearson. As the more mature Anna Merlan reports the same story on DO, the grand jury declined to indict, one of two possible successful choices it could make.

  • Andrew Plock

    Yikes, Alan. Leave the mothers out of this.

  • Michael J. Mooney

    Out of curiosity, for the future, how many “rodeos” does a girl have to attend before it’s no longer illegal to rape her? And wouldn’t it just be easier to put all of this into a chart: which behaviors, what clothing, which parties? We wouldn’t want a daughter or sister or friend accidentally doing something that makes it OK for her to get raped, would we?

  • Cat

    For the record, I am a mother of a 16 year old girl. I will never believe that this girl attempted to get dressed and get out of the car which is what a girl would do if she changed her mind after she was already naked in the back seat and she was feeling pressure from the boy. According to the reports, there was no evidence that Romo beat her back down into the backseat forcefully and held her down. Evidence of rough sex doesn’t mean a thing. If a naked girl suddenly says no with her words but still has her legs spread and doesn’t attempt to remove herself from the situation, she is essentially saying yes. That is not rape.

  • Liz Johnstone

    I, for one, could really use a detailed outline of acceptable/unacceptable behaviors, attire, and venues. Some sort of illustration would probably be helpful, since words are hard. This way, I’ll know when I can and cannot report a crime, and my tiny female brain can focus on whether my next order from should be a culotte or a tent that somehow makes me look skinnier.

  • Alex Drews

    You are a down right cynic. Grow up. If there was enough evidence to show he raped her it would go to trial. Clearly it did not. I know the family and i now ryan very well so keep your opinions to yourself. Swine.

  • Brandon

    Let’s pump the brakes a little here. A Ghostland Observatory concert is just a concert – not a “drug and alcohol fueled rave”. The VAST majority of the people at those concerts are not wearing “underwear/swimsuits and furry boots”.

  • Ken

    Especially when she lives like 5 or 6 doors down and he walks here home making out with her.

  • Michael J. Mooney

    I’m not making any judgments about the facts of this specific case, because I don’t know enough about it. But I certainly hope that as a mother of a teenage girl, you are aware that a rape victim doesn’t have to be beaten, nor does she have to try to break free and run away, for her to be a victim of rape. And not doing those things is certainly not the same as “essentially saying yes.” There is a phrase for the mentality you’re employing: victim blaming.

  • Avid Reader

    All Ghostland Observatory concerts are drug and alcohol fueled raves. All of them.

  • Brett Moore

    This is disgusting. I’m glad you aren’t the mother of my child.

  • Neal K

    Remember all the reports about that recording that the UP police made of a call between the accuser and Romo, where he allegedly said “ok, you’re making me feel bad” in response to her statement that she didn’t want to have sex with him? Supposedly it was damning evidence. Weird how no one is talking about it today. Surely the grand jury listened to it. Only the two people involved know what really happened, but it’s worth mentioning.

  • Brandon

    I stand corrected.

  • RAB

    “The VAST majority of the people at those concerts are not wearing underwear”?

    Where can I buy tickets?

  • Avid Reader

    Glad we can agree that my well-sourced facts are as valid as your well-sourced facts.

  • RAB

    With respect to the hooker example, is it okay to ask for your money back — or a partial refund depending on how long you were going before she said stop?

    Just trying to teach my boys.

  • Neal K

    Well, yes, but my point was that the actual recording must not have been as bad as we were led to believe.

  • Disbelief in our justice syste

    No billed does not in any way, shape, or form mean that Ryan Romo was proven innocent. It simply means that the Grand Jury did not choose to pass the case forward to trial unless more evidence is brought to their attention. One of the most disconcerting aspects of the Grand Jury meeting was the fact that Romo’s “polygraph” that he received was taken into account. Lie detector tests have never, under any circumstances, been admissible in court… There are so many known and proven loop holes that one can make to skew any and all results a polygraph could produce that they do not consider it as evidence or as relevant in anyway to the situation. It is believed that Romo took a variety of medication to affect his heart rate and bodily reactions during his “4 hour period” of undergoing his lie detector test (the one that was set up, paid for, and released from members of his party). Any person wishing to pass a polygraph “with flying colors” is capable of doing so even while lying through their teeth; that is why they are NOT admissible in court. The fact that the Grand Jury decided to take this form of “evidence” into account is baffling. As for why the victim chose to go to the Plano hospital for her rape exam, it has been confirmed that the family was told to visit the Plano hospital because the rape examination nurses at the next closest area were preoccupied with another patient that would take much longer than driving to the next closest rape-examination equipped hospital. A fact is a fact; the victim passed a rape exam. Rape exams, unlike polygraphs, are admissible in court. But, for some reason I cannot wrap my head around, Grand Jury does not have to play by the rules of the actual court system. The claim that Romo has been staying at home as a “recluse” in fear is one that should never have been made — he was seen at MULTIPLE parties where he was found to be drinking, while with children under the age of 18 between the time of his arrest and the Grand Jury meeting — all of which was against his probation of being in the presence of minors while awaiting for the Grand Jury meeting. After hearing of the case being no billed, Romo and his friends posted pictures of them “celebrating”, “raging” and drinking — yes, the photos contained pictures of alcohol that the students (all under the age of 21) were drinking. It almost seems too ridiculous to comprehend. If this case involved a different boy and was in a different area, he would have been rightfully jailed back in October. Because Romo’s family is a wealthy, well-known family in their community, they have been able to wrongfully gain support from those who refuse to face what is commonly known. Romo has always been known as a boy with a history of making younger girls feel uncomfortable, and this is not the first accusation of non-consensual sexual activity on Romo’s part — it is simply the first that has been made public. There are other girls who have found themselves in the same situation as the victim with Ryan Romo, and we can only hope that one of them will come forward and TRUE justice can prevail.

    • Curious Reader

      Just out of curiosity, how do you know all these facts about the kid? How do you know for a fact that he was seen at multiple parties and that this was not the only young girl he supposedly forced himself on? Do you have any tangible evidence to back this up?

  • Brett Moore

    Ok. This seems like an odd legal definition to me, but I’m not an attorney.

    How does one define honestly and reasonably? I’m not saying this is the case with Romo, but if a defendant’s personal value system is so warped that he is able to justify the rape in his head (see, for example, the many, many comments on this story accusing the victim of “leading him on”, shouldn’t he be able to honestly and reasonably believe he had consent, even if he did not?

  • Robert Sanchez

    Honesty is a matter of fact. If he thought he had consent then he honestly had consent. Reasonability is for the jury to decide. Basically, it means that a reasonable person, in the position of the defendant, would have thought that he had consent. It’s ultimately up to the jury to decide whether a reasonable person would have thought he had consent in Romo’s position.

    It’s really a defense that only applies in borderline cases. We don’t and shouldn’t enforce strict liability with regard to consent, though. If we did, it would be theoretically possible to convict someone of rape even when the victim was screaming “YES!” repeatedly the entire time. If she didn’t want it deep down inside, then it would still be rape. Obviously, though, a reasonable person would clearly believe that they had consent in such circumstances. So a defendant should not be found guilty on that basis.

  • Ben

    Dwayne Goodrich is lucky that he only got 7 years, considering he killed someone because he didn’t want to wait in traffic. Two very different cases.

  • leh

    Why did the girl not get to do a polygraph?