NFL draft prospect from SDSU accused of emotional, physical abuse

Former girlfriend says Tyler Roemer hurt her in a physical altercation last spring

Amal Younis, Jack Molmud, and Bella Ross

%28Left%29+Tyler+Roemer%2C+former+Aztecs+left+tackle.+Courtesy+of+SDSU+Athletics.+%28Right%29+Carly+Heppler%2C+communications+senior+who+is+accusing+Romer+of+emotional+and+physical+abuse.
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NFL draft prospect from SDSU accused of emotional, physical abuse

(Left) Tyler Roemer, former Aztecs left tackle. Courtesy of SDSU Athletics. (Right) Carly Heppler, communications senior who is accusing Romer of emotional and physical abuse.

(Left) Tyler Roemer, former Aztecs left tackle. Courtesy of SDSU Athletics. (Right) Carly Heppler, communications senior who is accusing Romer of emotional and physical abuse.

David Pradel

(Left) Tyler Roemer, former Aztecs left tackle. Courtesy of SDSU Athletics. (Right) Carly Heppler, communications senior who is accusing Romer of emotional and physical abuse.

David Pradel

David Pradel

(Left) Tyler Roemer, former Aztecs left tackle. Courtesy of SDSU Athletics. (Right) Carly Heppler, communications senior who is accusing Romer of emotional and physical abuse.

by Bella Ross, News Editor

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Note: This story includes explicit descriptions of domestic violence.

He’s 6 feet 6 inches tall and 312 pounds. He’s a 2019 NFL draft prospect and he’s got a history with San Diego State.

His name is Tyler Roemer and he’s a former left tackle for the Aztecs football team. With a prospect grade of 5.45, according to the NFL website, he has “NFL backup or special teams potential.” Yet, he falls far from the 9- to 10-ranked “once in a lifetime” players.

NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein said Roemer’s got “pro potential,” but he is skeptical about his history with SDSU. Roemer was suspended indefinitely from the team last November due to an unspecified violation of team rules. According to his draft analysis, scouts have identified him as being “extremely immature.”

Communications senior Carly Heppler, Roemer’s ex-girlfriend from the beginning of 2018, said his history at SDSU goes far beyond what people saw on the field. She said their relationship was marked by emotional abuse, which eventually manifested into an incident of physical assault in March 2018.

While Roemer declined to do a phone interview with The Daily Aztec on the matter, his agency – a talent acquisition company called Octagon – provided a statement denying the accusations.

“I did not harm Carly physically, ever,” the statement said. “I never touched her in a harmful way.”

The statement went on to say: “I was raised by my mother, and several other women, and would never lay my hands on a female, ever.”

Heppler said their relationship started to pick up around February 2018, a point Roemer confirmed later in his statement. She said as their relationship progressed, he grew more suspicious, frequently accusing her of cheating with other football players.

But this was only the beginning. She said Roemer had her location shared with him and would often hold this over her head, accusing her of being places other than where she said she would be.

In one instance, Heppler said she was in a class at Student Life and Leadership – located above The Habit – when she received a text accusing her of not being in class like she said. When she told Roemer her class was located above The Habit, she said Roemer asked to smell her fingers to see whether they would smell of french fries.

Heppler said there were multiple instances like this, oftentimes resulting in knocks on her door when Roemer felt the need to confirm she was at home like she said. When Roemer couldn’t make a personal appearance, Heppler said he was not afraid to make a spell of late-night calls. A screenshot from during their relationship shows Roemer calling her four times between 2:18 and 2:20 a.m.

A screenshot provided by Heppler shows Roemer called her four times between 2:18 and 2:20 a.m. on one night during their relationship.

“This is just one night of every single night that (he) was constantly calling me at these absurd hours,” Heppler said.

On March 22, 2018, Carly said these tendencies turned into a physical altercation.

After a night of drinking, Heppler said Roemer asked to see her phone – something she said he did often that she was not a fan of – and she told him he would have to wait until they were sober.

“He didn’t like that answer very much and very quickly things escalated,” Heppler said. “He tried grabbing the phone out of my hands. I asked him to stop and he wouldn’t let go. There was a point where his arms were around me and I was holding onto my phone and he was prying the phone out of my hands.”

In a moment of desperation, Heppler said she ran away and grabbed a hold of her screen door, the exit to her 10-foot-high balcony that she imagined she would have jump off of to get away.

“He got there just in the nick of time and took me and dragged me down to the ground,” Heppler said. “It popped my screen door off of its hinges and he simply stood up from that, took one look at me and just said, ‘Why’d you do that? Why did you break your screen door?’”

(Left) Heppler shows part of her thumb where Roemer allegedly broke skin while trying to take her phone out of her hand. (Right) A few days after the alleged incident of violence, Heppler shows part of her waist where she said she was left bruised after Roemer dragged her to the ground.

She said the night lasted until 5 a.m., with Roemer threatening to kill himself every time she tried to leave. The next day, Heppler was on a flight home to recoup with her parents.

Roemer did not deny there was an incident on March 22, 2018. But, he insisted he never physically harmed Heppler.

“We were seeing each other for a bit in 2018 and we had an argument on March 22, 2018, over content on her cell phone,” Roemer said in the statement. “The argument resulted in a broken door.”

Heppler’s screen door that was broken after her alleged altercation with Roemer on March 22, 2018.

Following the incident, Heppler said she and her friends received text messages from other SDSU football players – whom Heppler asked to remain unnamed – urging her not to press charges against Roemer.

“Call me when you get the chance. I need you to not press any charges against Roemer,” a text to Heppler from one of the players said.

(Left) A screenshot of a conversation between Heppler and another SDSU football player after the alleged incident of violence. (Right) A screenshot of a text from the same SDSU football player to one of Heppler’s friends after the alleged incident.

After some deliberation, Heppler said she decided to take her case to SDSU’s Title IX office, where the incident resulted in an agreement without a formal investigation in July 2018. The terms of the agreement, which both Heppler and Roemer signed onto, said Roemer must pay Heppler $83.38 for the damage done to her screen door, attend an initial appointment at SDSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services and avoid any contact with Heppler.

In his statement, Roemer confirmed his involvement in the Title IX process and said he continued to participate in counseling beyond the extent that was required by the agreement.

“We both met with Sara Vogel from the Center of Student Rights and Responsibilities at SDSU after the incident,” Roemer’s statement said. “We decided that I should pay for the broken door, which I did, and that I would seek counseling. I met with a counselor and continued to do so when I was training in Arizona. We both signed an Early Resolution agreement with SDSU in July 2018.”

A photo of the check Roemer provided to Heppler to cover the damages to her screen door, totaling $83.38. This action was mandated through the early resolution agreement both Heppler and Roemer signed.

The existence of this signed agreement does not necessarily confirm Heppler’s accusations, as this method of resolution is in place to explore whether the situation can be resolved without an investigation. SDSU’s Title IX Investigator Sara Vogel – who handled Heppler’s case and signed onto the early resolution agreement – said her office cannot comment on specific cases.

Heppler said she has not heard from Roemer since they both signed the early resolution agreement. While she said she could have filed criminal charges against Roemer, she didn’t because she knew she still cared deeply about him. She said the only reason she has chosen to come forward with this accusation now is because she realized others need to be able to learn from her experience.

“Recognize the signs that emotional abuse might lead to physical abuse,” Heppler said. “I would say to run when you can and … trust your gut.”

When reflecting on the night before things allegedly turned violent between her and Roemer, Heppler said the signs were right in her face.

“I could almost tell you that it was coming because maybe it was,” Heppler said. “He would take his hat off and throw it on the ground. Maybe he would slam the door shut. Maybe it was just like too much of a, ‘Hey, get over here,’ or something like that.”

Heppler has since moved from the apartment where she alleged the incident occurred and is finishing up her time at SDSU. For Roemer, his days have been spent preparing and training for the draft since his declaration in December.

The NFL draft is from April 25 to 27 and teams will have the option to select Roemer to go pro, though not every draft prospect gets picked.

Heppler said she hopes teams will see Roemer as more than just a page of statistics.

“If you want to get a football player, sure, you can pick Tyler. But if you want a good person, I would not pick him,” Heppler said. “I just want people to know the truth.”

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