HARTFORD CITY, Ind. — A Hartford City man is wanted on multiple felony charges after an Ohio woman accused him of keeping her confined to a motel room and raping her on multiple occasions.
Anthony Romano, 28, is charged with two counts of rape, a Level 3 felony, along with one count of criminal confinement with bodily injury, a Level 5 felony, and a misdemeanor charge of battery. Court records indicate that a warrant was issued for Romano’s arrest on Sept. 6 and remains active at the time of publication.
According to court documents, Romano coerced the Ohio woman into leaving her family home and staying with him in Hartford City. The 24-year-old victim told investigators she met Romano on an online dating app two years ago and originally blocked him due to his aggressive sexual speech. In June, however, the two reconnected on the app and she agreed to go on a date with him.
The victim went on to accuse Romano of raping her on their very first date in late June. She said Romano manipulated her into believing her father was dangerous and, fueled by feelings of shame and guilt about being raped, she was coerced into leaving her family’s Ohio home and went back to Indiana with Romano.
In Hartford City, the victim’s situation only grew worse, according to the documents, as she was kept confined to a motel room nearly every day and was allegedly raped by Romano repeatedly.
According to the victim, Romano kept her in the motel room under threats of violence against her and her loved ones. Romano also reportedly told her that if she didn’t have sex with him, he’d “throw her out of the street.”
The victim had difficulty contacting her family due to Romano allegedly shattering her phone and throwing it in the trash not long after taking her to Indiana.
Court documents reveal that Romano also is accused of physically abusing the victim. The woman told police that Romano would become violent if she brought up the topic of returning to her family or told him she didn’t want to have sex. A family member reportedly sighted bruising on the victim’s face during a video chat in late July, according to the court documents.
The victim ended up escaping Romano after leaving the motel to go to Taco Bell where she was able to contact family and have her father pick her up. The victim ended up being taken to a hospital where she notified nurses about the sexual assaults and an exam was conducted with police being notified.
According to the court documents, the victim’s parents told investigators that their 24-year-old daughter was autistic but that it did not significantly interfere with her functioning.
Romano remains wanted by police but may have fled Indiana. Court records reveal Romano moved to Indiana for work and may have ties to Pennsylvania and Kansas.