The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

UPDATED: Felony charges against former Richmond scholar dropped, two other charges remain

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

Editor’s Note: Previous hearing date was Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. central time. This is a developing story. The content of this article might be upsetting to some readers. 

Texas police charged a former sophomore at the University of Richmond with felony invasive visual recording and assault after they said he hid his mobile phone camera in a woman’s restroom at a local pool June 8 in Conroe, Texas. 

Roman Maciel, a 2026 Richmond Scholar from Conroe no longer will have a status hearing at 9 a.m. Oct. 3, a spokesperson from 9th District County in Conroe, Texas said. Maciel's charges of invasive visual recording were dismissed on Sept. 6. It is unknown why the case was dismissed, the spokesperson said. Maciel still has two charges of bodily assault. The pretrial hearing for both charges is on Sept. 18. 

William Pattillo, a lawyer who will represent Maciel, declined to comment on the initial case. 

Records show that Maciel was arrested June 8 in Conroe. Maciel worked under Blue Water Recreational Services for the Lake Conroe community pool and was reportedly found in a handicap stall with his phone wrapped in toilet paper, according to Montgomery County Police Reporter’s story. The woman who was assaulted confronted Maciel about the recording before he threw his phone away, assaulted her and ran to a wooded area where he was caught, according to a story from WFAA. 

Maciel is no longer employed at Blue Water Recreational Services, James Bennett, president of Blue Water, said. 

The Collegian was unable to determine if he made bail, but he is not listed as an active inmate on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website. Maciel did not respond to phone calls and emails from The Collegian to comment. 

Police charged Maciel with invasive visual recording and two counts of physical assault, according to court records obtained by The Collegian. Maciel’s bail for the three charges consisted of $50,000 for the felony charge and two bonds of $2,500 the misdemeanor charges.

According to the Texas Penal Code 21.15, videotapes in a bathroom or private dressing room without the other person’s consent is considered a state jail felony. The Texas penal code states that those found guilty of a state jail felony in Texas may be punished by at least 180 days in jail but no more than two years. In addition, they may be punished by a fine of no more than $10,000. 

In addition to recording, Maciel is accused of throwing the woman to the ground and scratching an individual’s chest, court records show.  

Maciel is no longer declared a Richmond Scholar in the Richmond Scholars Program web page. The Richmond Scholars Program is the most prestigious merit award at UR, providing full scholarship for tuition room and board. Scholars are chosen by UR’s admission team and considered for their merit, strong leadership, purpose and commitment to diversity, according to the Richmond Scholars Program website.

The Richmond Scholars office declined to comment on whether Maciel will still be a scholar for the fall 2023 term. Maciel is also listed in the student directory as a student but UR declined to comment on whether he is still enrolled. 

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According to UR’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy, the recording or photographing someone underdressed or partially undressed is considered sexual exploitation, which is a form of sexual misconduct prohibited by UR. This includes sexual misconduct that happened off campus if the Title IX coordinator determines the act affects the student’s ability to benefit the academic community. 

The UR communications department declined to comment on the matter and said the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows universities to keep student’s records confidential. 

Maciel graduated salutatorian from Oak Ridge High School in Conroe. He was a National Hispanic Scholar and president of the National Honor Society. He has previously interned with a local law firm, the scholars’ website stated. Maciel was also a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee at UR. 

Contact executive editors Ananya Chetia and Amy Jablonski at executiveeditors@thecollegianur.com.

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