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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

In-transit sexual assault of minor in 2017 near Vinita results in charges for Stilllwell man

A Stilwell man faces charges after allegedly sexually assaulting a minor in 2017 near Vinita, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

David Anthony Romannose, 44, was charged by criminal complaint with sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country and aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country.

At a hearing on July 6, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Huntsman ordered the defendant detained while awaiting trial. Romannose is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

On July 4, 2017, Romannose accompanied a group who were traveling through northeastern Oklahoma after attending a festival in Seiling. While traveling, according to the affidavit, Romannose allegedly sexually assaulted the victim in the backseat of the vehicle.

The violation occurred in Indian Country on the Will Rogers Turnpike/Interstate Highway I-44 near Vinita, in Craig County. The victim told investigators she remembered the group stopping at a rest stop in Vinita shortly after the abuse occurred.

Romannose reportedly also abused the minor, an Oneida Indian Nation citizen, after the group arrived home in New York. The victim later disclosed the abuse to a counselor and family member.

A criminal complaint is a temporary charge alleging violation of the law. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

For the case to proceed to trial, the United States must present the charge to a federal Grand Jury within 30 days. Once a Grand Jury returns an Indictment, a defendant has a right to a jury trial at which time the United States would have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt.

The FBI, Oneida Indian Nation Police Department, and Craig County Sheriff’s Office are the investigative agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gina S. Gilmore is prosecuting the case.

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