Jury Convicts Stilwell Man for Sexual Abuse of a Minor
TULSA, Okla. – A Stilwell man was convicted Wednesday in federal court for sexually assaulting a minor in 2017 near Vinita during a road trip, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
The jury found David Anthony Romannose, 45, guilty of aggravated sexual abuse by force and threat in Indian Country and sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country.
“David Romannose abused the trust placed in him by a 12-year-old child who, at the time, considered him a friend. Even though it was extremely difficult, the victim bravely testified this week about the abuse she endured from Romannose. She is to be commended for her courage and for stopping this defendant from preying on other children,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Also to be commended are the officers and agents of the FBI, Oneida Indian Nation Police Department and the Craig County Sheriff’s Office, who ensured Romannose was held accountable for his crimes. Strong partnerships are critical in these types of cases.”
“Protecting children is a top priority for the FBI, and we are pleased with today’s conviction. I want to thank the FBI special agents and staff as well as our partners who worked on this case to make sure justice was done,” said Alvin M. Winston, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Oklahoma City.
On July 4, 2017, Romannose, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, accompanied a group who were traveling through northeastern Oklahoma after attending a festival in Seiling. While traveling, Romannose 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 also abused the minor, an Oneida Indian Nation citizen, after the group arrived home in New York.
During the trial, family members testified that following the road trip, the victim’s behavior changed dramatically, and they initially were unsure why. They stated that she became more withdrawn and started acting out. Unexplained changes in behavior can be indicative of child sexual abuse. The victim eventually disclosed the abuse to a counselor and family member.
Chief U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III will sentence Romannose on June 3, 2022.
The FBI, Oneida Indian Nation Police Department, Craig County Sheriff’s Office, and the Craig County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gina S. Gilmore and Stacey P. Todd are prosecuting the case.