Sterling HeightsMay 15, 2012
Suspect in Sterling Heights sexual assault extradited from Sweden
By Cortney Casey
C & G Staff Writer
A Sterling Heights man who left the country after being questioned on suspicion of sexual assault is back in the hands of local law enforcement.
Sterling Heights police took custody of Rod Patros Romaya, 62, from U.S. Marshals May 11, after Swedish officials apprehended and extradited him at the marshals’ request.
According to police, Romaya was wanted in connection with alleged sexual assaults on a young relative over the course of more than two years at his home on Karin in Sterling Heights.
He’s now facing three counts of criminal sexual conduct – second degree on a minor under 13 years old, a 15-year felony that involves sexual contact versus penetration.
Lt. Kevin Reese of the Sterling Heights Police Department said the department, which has a detective assigned to a U.S. Marshals taskforce, reached out to the marshals for assistance in nabbing Romaya.
The marshals, in turn, worked with the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office to arrange and execute the extradition, he said.
“It’s rare; it’s not something that happens every day,” Reese said of Romaya’s disappearance during an ongoing investigation. “But it shows, kind of, that law enforcement can reach out and get you anywhere.”
Romaya was arraigned before Magistrate Michael Piatek in 41-A District Court May 14, with bond set at $1 million cash/surety. He was forced to surrender his passport, and if he posts bond, he must don a GPS tether and refrain from contacting the victim.
As of the afternoon of May 14, Romaya remained in custody, said Reese. Court officials indicated Romaya’s request for a court-appointed attorney was granted, but none had been put on record as of May 14.
According to police, the alleged assaults occurred between April 2009 and July 2011. After an original interview in regards to the allegations, Romaya reportedly headed to Canada, then England, before authorities tracked him down in Sweden.
Reese said he believes the initial interview with Romaya occurred last July. When investigators reached out for a follow-up interview, they discovered that he’d disappeared.
Based on the results of the investigation, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office issued a three-count warrant for Romaya’s arrest.
Reese said it did not appear that Romaya has any familial ties in Sweden or any particular reason why he chose that country.
Swedish officials reportedly took Romaya into custody at the request of the U.S. Marshals and held him until the extradition could take place. Reese said the apprehension and handoff went peacefully at all stages: “There were no issues at all, at any time, in his arrest.”
At press time, Romaya’s preliminary exam was set for May 23 before Judge Michael Maceroni in 41-A District Court.
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