Attorney resigns from law firm

Robert Ranco

Robert Ranco, a Central Texas civil lawyer who garnered national attention last weekend for a tweet advocating sexual violence against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has resigned from a local law firm.

Ranco submitted his resignation from the Carlson Law Firm, which has offices in Temple and Killeen.

A Ranco Tweet caused a national firestorm when he negatively responded to DeVos’ Title IX decrees that advocated removing male college students accused of sexual assault without due process.

“I’m not wishing for it ... but I’d be ok if #Betsy DeVos was sexually assaulted,” Ranco Tweeted on Friday evening.

Ranco, 48, of Round Rock, voluntarily resigned after a Monday meeting with Carlson during which the two men reached two distinct conclusions, Carlson said Tuesday in a statement.

“With over 150 employees, 75 percent of whom are women, anyone in our company advocating or even expressing apathy towards sexual assault is an affront to all victims and a line that simply cannot be uncrossed,” Carlson said.

He said the Tweet and the resulting uproar was “an enormous distraction that has taken away from the mission of our firm, which is to care for and help people.”

Ranco took full responsibility for his actions and chose to resign, Carlson said.

"My Tweet from Friday was a mistake. I take full responsibility from it. It was my mistake and nobody else's, and I apologize,” Ranco said. “I'll be working continuously moving forward to make up for my mistake. I hope that Secretary DeVos and anyone else who was offended, impacted or shocked by my actions, that they can find it in their hearts to forgive me."

Ranco was with the Carlson firm for 11 years.

Attempts by a Telegram reporter to contact Ranco over the weekend and again Monday were unsuccessful. Ranco removed his Twitter and Facebook accounts over the weekend.

“For those of you who are wondering why this took so long, let me start by saying that this firm is a family and I believe it’s up to me to show the same loyalty that I ask of my people. I wasn’t going to make a rash decision about a member of this family just to appease people on social media,” Carlson added.

Carlson promised his partners and employees that he would act according to the firm’s values, he said.

“As a man of faith, believer in forgiveness and longtime friend, it is my sincere hope that Rob with learn from this experience and go on to have a very successful career,” Carlson said.

The State Bar of Texas Twitter feed was filled Saturday with negative comments about Ranco and the law firm.

By Tuesday, 3,382 people signed a petition calling for the removal of Ranco’s license to practice law in Texas. The intent is to send the petition to the Texas Bar Association.

Ranco represented the family of Lyle Blanchard in a civil lawsuit against Bell County Sheriff’s Cpl. Shane Geers for allegedly using excessive force during a shooting that followed a traffic stop on Aug. 30, 2016, in Harker Heights. The family withdrew the lawsuit last month after a federal judge recommended the suit be dismissed.