Two days after a Price man and wife were charged with sexual abuse of children, prosecutors have charged a friend of theirs as well.
Tyler James Barney, 25, of Helper, was charged Friday in 7th District Court with two counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.
Price police Capt. Bill Barnes could not comment on whether the charges against Barney apply to one or two victims but confirmed that he is a friend of the couple, who are accused of abusing at least six children — from ages 2 to 15 — over about three years.
Amanda Nicole Romano, 26, and her husband, Timothy Lee Romano, 25, were charged Wednesday with 17 counts between them. Amanda Romano faces five counts of object rape of a child, five counts of sodomy upon a child, four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child — all first-degree felonies — and class A misdemeanor child abuse. Timothy Romano was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
The aggravated counts denote a position of trust between the adults and their alleged victims, such as that of a teacher or baby sitter. All three adults were arrested in early November after the Utah Division of Family and Child Services notified the police about the suspected abuse.
Price investigators are coordinating with police in La Verkin, a small city in Washington County, where Amanda Romano lived a few years ago. La Verkin police are revisiting a 2008 case in which Amanda Romano was charged with inflicting physical injury on a child with criminal neglect, a class C misdemeanor. She pleaded guilty and completed a parenting class the next year, according to court records.
La Verkin police intend to interview Amanda Romano again, as well as a man she temporarily left Timothy Romano for, who has since left the state, said La Verkin police Chief Lloyd Watkins. They want to know more about what may have happened, as well as whether there could be other victims, he said.
Amanda Romano eventually went back to her husband, and the two have a young child, who is now in state custody.
All three defendants are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.