Ohio lawyer imprisoned for cocaine felony indefinitely suspended

Highland County press writes

A Cuyahoga County lawyer serving a three-year prison term for a drug-related crime has been indefinitely suspended from the practice of law by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Shawn A. Romer of Fairview Park has been under an interim suspension since March 2022. The suspension was imposed shortly after he was convicted on the third-degree felony drug count and a misdemeanor count of soliciting. The charges stemmed from his involvement with a cocaine dealer and sex trafficker. Romer was later a federal witness against the man.

Because of his assistance to the federal government, Romer pleaded to lesser charges that did not indicate he had sexual contact with a minor.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court stated that when a lawyer engages or attempts to engage in sexually motivated conduct with an underage victim, an indefinite suspension is appropriate.

The Court’s opinion noted that Romer has a long-term substance abuse problem. By 2017, he was charged three times with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse (OVI), but pleaded to lesser charges in the first two instances. In 2017, he was convicted of OVI, and in a separate incident, disorderly conduct due to intoxication. He then began treatment for alcohol addiction under an agreement with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP).

Romer complied with his OLAP contract until 2019 but relapsed and began drinking and using cocaine. He met Reuben Rankin, a cocaine dealer. Rankin frequently sent a 15-year-old girl, identified in court records as “A.L.,” to deliver cocaine to Romer. Unbeknownst to Romer, Rankin was also trafficking women.

In September 2019, Romer sought to purchase cocaine from Rankin. Romer also accepted Rankin’s offer to send an unnamed female to perform oral sex. A.L. arrived to deliver cocaine, and Romer expressed that he had no desire to have sexual contact with a minor. A.L. told Romer she was 19.

Romer and A.L. showered together, and she sexually touched him. They used cocaine together. Romer denied he pressured A.L. to use cocaine but later stipulated that if A.L. was called to testify, she would state she was hesitant to use cocaine but felt pressured to do so.

While A.L. was at Romer’s home, Rankin attempted to extort money from Romer. He had A.L. tell Romer she was 15 and that if he did not pay Rankin additional money, she would report him to the police. Romer paid A.L. $200, and she left.

Later that day, A.L. was involved in a traffic accident. Police identified A.L. as a missing juvenile, and when interviewed, she disclosed she was trafficked by Rankin and had met with Romer.


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