Price couple charged with child sex abuse, third man arrested

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6 2012 7:02 p.m. MST

PRICE — A husband and wife have been charged with multiple counts of child sex abuse, and a third man is expected to face charges in what a veteran police officer called "a troubling and significant case."

Timothy Lee Romano, 25, was charged Wednesday in 7th District Court with two counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. His wife, 24-year-old Amanda Nicole Romano, was charged with five counts of object rape of a child, five counts of sodomy on a child and four counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies.

Carbon County prosecutors also filed one count of child abuse, a class A misdemeanor, against the woman. They have yet to file charges against Tyler James Barney, 25, who was arrested a day after the Romanos and is suspected of sexually abusing a young child related to the couple.

"This is something nobody, including police officers and human services professionals, want to think about," said Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes, who has worked for nearly 30 years as a police officer.

"This is the most troubling and significant case I've heard about," he said.

An anonymous complaint to the Division of Child and Family Services led investigators to the Romanos and Barney in late October, Barnes said.

"When enough probable cause was established early on in the investigation, arrests were made," he said. "There was a delay in the formal charges being filed because it's a very dynamic case."

Investigators suspect that the trio may have sexually abused multiple children over the past two years. Prosecutors, however, have only charged Timothy Romano in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of one child. The charges against his wife stem from her alleged abuse of two children.

Carbon County prosecutor Jeremy Humes told the Deseret News that, while it's still early in the case, he believes Amanda Romano's mental competency, both at the time of her interviews with police and since her arrest, will play a role in whether the case against her goes forward.

Timothy Romano is being held in the Carbon County Jail in lieu of $350,000 bail. Bail for his wife and for Barney is set at $200,000 apiece.

Barnes said a child who was living in the Romanos' home has been removed from their custody by DCFS. The Romanos and Barney were all acquainted with the children they are accused of abusing, the captain said.

"Oftentimes sex abuse does not fit the typical pattern that we think of," he said. "This certainly is not a stranger danger-type of situation."

Authorities are asking anyone who suspects their child may have been sexually abused by the Romanos or Barney to call 435-636-3190.

E-mail: gliesik@desnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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