Eric Romig Case:
From 2008 to 2010, Kelly Romig's older brother Eric Romig, who Ray and I had known at FCA in the 1990s, was a girl's basketball coach at the same school.
Eric and I had been slightly acquainted as teenagers. Ray had known him better due to being in Soccer with him. Ray and Eric were often at odds. Ray actually wanted to fight Eric once, but Eric refused. “You're not worth it,” Eric said.
I don't know what the conflict was about, but my impression was that Ray and Eric both saw themselves as cock of the walk at school and, as in the “Highlander” movies, “There can be only one”.
In the 2000s, Eric's behavior as a coach at FCA raised eyebrows. In particular, he sent over 3,200 text messages, mostly of a romantic nature, to a 17-year old young woman who was a student at the school.
At least one of the messages allegedly contained a sexual proposition; specifically, “I want to be in you”.
FCA's headmaster at the time, Ryan Clymer, had been an FCA student himself. He'd been a classmate of Eric Romig and my brother Ray in the 1990s and had come back as headmaster starting in the 2008-2009 school year.
Ryan was, to some extent, the “cool kid” come back to run a school and make it less onerous. He reduced the number of pointless rules and added more extracurricular activities such as a poetry day and a talent show.
Under Ryan, there was a greater emphasis on sports including sports oriented recruitment that he managed to connect to spiritual outreach. He also allowed girls to wear pants rather than only skirts and dresses.
So, to some extent, Ryan promoted a transition from what might have been perceived as a rigid and antiquated system to one that was modern but true to the spirit of what the school stood for.
Improvements at FCA weren't entirely Ryan's doing. Michelle Carr's benefit auction and Henry Thompson's work on corporate funding and grants were a big part of it. Many teachers helped, too, through volunteering after hours.
The team effort led to better financial conditions at FCA starting in 2010.
This meant, in turn, that FCA could afford to be more selective about students that it would accept and allow to remain. Subsequent to 2010, Ryan had more latitude in terms of persuading the families of problem students who didn't really want to be at FCA to remove them from the school.
The bottom line is that Ryan was a committed and even charismatic leader. Charismatic, of course, isn't necessarily the same thing as objective or wise.
Ryan conducted an investigation into the Romig matter. He learned that Eric had texted at least one other student in this manner.
Ryan asked Eric to resign. Eric resigned and stated publicly that it was for “health” reasons.
Eric took a position at another school. He had sex with a 16-year-old student from that school in 2013. He was arrested, tried and convicted, and in 2014 he was sentenced to 3.5 to 7.0 years for that crime.
In the photo below, Eric Romig is the 4th youth from the left in the top row. Ryan Clymer is 1st youth on the left in the middle row.
Ray is the last youth on the right in the middle row. Mark Culton is the 2nd from the left in the top row. Pete Hammond is 4th from the left in the bottom row.
Feelings about the Eric Romig case:
I had the impression that Ryan Clymer had protected Eric Romig by permitting him to resign under false pretenses as opposed to dismissing him for cause.
Upon review, it appears that this was exactly the case.
The student who Eric had sex with filed a lawsuit that included Ryan Clymer and FCA as defendants. The lawsuit alleged that Ryan and FCA had concealed behavior by Eric that the school should have reported.
If Ryan had reported Eric, the reasoning went, he wouldn't have gained the next job which had given him the opportunity to seduce the girl at that job.
The Court ruled in favor of FCA. This was due partly to two important points:
(a) Most of the 3,200 text messages which Eric had sent to a girl at FCA had been deleted. So, there was no proof of what had been said.
(b) No student at FCA had alleged physical abuse.
So, on a technical basis, Ryan wasn't legally required to report Eric. But it's not clear why he couldn't have done so.
Privacy of employee records doesn't, or shouldn't, cover a case where a school employee sends 3,200 texts to a student and a credible allegation is made to the effect that “I want to be in you” is one of the texts.
“I want to be in your heart”, sure, Ryan could try to defend that statement. Possibly even in the case of an underage object of an adult's desire.
But “I want to be in you”, by itself, means “I want my penis to be in your underage vagina. Then out. Then in again.”
To conceal that type of statement doesn't seem like the sort of thing one boasts of at PTA meetings. Or to God.
It's my view that FCA is more culpable in the Eric Romig case than in the John Longaker case.
Oddities in the Eric Romig case:
There are some minor oddities in the Eric Romig case.
One is that Eric's sister Kelly had been misused by John Longaker starting when she was age 14. It stands out that Longaker misused a girl and the girl's brother committed a similar crime after he grew up.
It might be fair to ask, did Longaker “do” Eric as well as Kelly? But the polarity, so to speak, isn't right. It's probably just a coincidence.
I worked at FCA myself as IT director from 2012 to 2018.
At one point, Ryan approached me to ask if I'd be able to recover a “dick photo” that a girl had received on a cell-phone and then, apparently, deleted.
Upon review of the Eric Romig case, I wondered if the photo might be connected to the case. But I've learned that Eric left his job before I took mine and so there's no connection.
In another coincidence, Eric's and Kelly's mother took care of me, on occasion, when I was pre-school age. She was in charge of the day-care where I stayed when my own mother worked day-shift.
She was an odd woman who seemed emotionally disconnected. But there was a day when I was 3 years old when she was compassionate toward me about violating naptime to pray.