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Utah woman sentenced to prison in child sex abuse case

Published March 28, 2013 12:40 pm

Courts • Price woman accepts a plea deal; police say at least six children were abused.
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A Price woman will spend at least 10 years in prison after she pleaded no contest to several counts aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Amanda Romano, 26, was originally charged with 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.

On Monday, she accepted a plea deal and pleaded no contest to three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. She also pleaded guilty to the class A misdemeanor child abuse.

Seventh District Judge Douglas Thomas sentenced Romano to 10 years to life in the Utah State Prison on each sexual abuse count, but ruled the sentences could run concurrent. He also sentenced Romano up to one year in jail on the child abuse charge, but ruled that time could be served at the prison, also concurrent to the other sentences.

Romano's husband, Timothy Lee Romano, 25, was also charged in connection to sexual abuse of several children. He was sentenced earlier this week to a maximum of five years in prison. Timothy Romano pleaded no contest to two charges of third-degree felony attempted sexual abuse of a child.

According to prosecutors, there was conflicting evidence about Timothy Romano's involvement in the sexual abuse, which police have said involved at least six children, from toddlers to teens, over a three-year period.

A friend of the couple's, Tyler James Barney, has also been linked to the abuse and is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.

Barney has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He will back in court on May 6, and a trial has been scheduled on May 30.

Amanda Romano's competency was initially in question, according to court documents, but it was determined that she could proceed with the case.

The aggravated counts denote a position of trust between the adults and their alleged victims, such as that of a teacher or babysitter. Prosecutors have not publicly discussed what relationship the Romanos had with the victims, but have said they were not babysitting the victims during the alleged crimes.

jmiller@sltrib.com