Chesterton Tribune



Appeal rejected of Liberty man who told girlfriend to record local boy's molesting

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has denied the appeal of the Liberty Township man who persuaded his girlfriend to molest a Chesterton boy and then record the molestation.

Ryan Roy Schroeder, 28, is serving a 54-year sentence.

In his appeal, Schroeder had specifically disputed the felony status of the five counts of aiding in child molesting of which he was convicted, a Class A felony punishable by a term of 20 to 50 years. Schroeder also disputed the appropriateness of his 54-year sentence, given “the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.”

On the first issue, Schroeder contended that each count of aiding in child molesting should have been filed as a Class B felony--punishable by a term of six to 20 years--because his girlfriend, Tara Tryon, who committed the molesting itself, was younger than 21 at the time and accordingly charged under Indiana Code with five counts of Class B felony child molesting.

On the second issue, Schroeder maintained that the “nature of the offense is less repulsive because (the Chesterton boy) was too young to remember the molestations.”

The Court of Appeals rejected both arguments.

The Indiana State Police began its investigation in October 2011, when the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Police came into possession of 39 images and two videos of a woman later identified as Tryon molesting the boy. Investigators later determined that Schroeder himself--by way of a third party--had those images and videos sent to the LCSP because Tryon had ended their relationship and he was angry at her.

Multiple images of child pornography were subsequently found on Schroeder’s external hard drive in his barracks in Florida, where he was stationed as a sailor in the U.S. Navy.

Meanwhile, the investigation revealed that Schroeder was involved in relationships with two other women who also recorded child-pornographic or voyeuristic images at Schroeder’s behest. One of them, Adrienne Harris, also enlisted in the U.S. Navy, testified at Schroeder’s trail that she had taken nude photographs of a young girl and texted them to Schroeder.

Tryon, now 22, is currently serving a 10-year sentence; Harris, a 25-year sentence.

As the Court of Appeals noted in its Nov. 8 decision, all three women testified at Schroeder’s trial that he’d expressed an interest in having children with them, so that he might have unimpeded sexual access to his daughters.

The Ruling

To Schroeder’s contention that, by aiding Tryon, he committed the same offense that she committed--that is to say, a Class B felony, not a Class A--the Court of Appeals noted that “Schroeder confuses the offense with the offense’s degree, grade, or classification.”

More to the point, the Court stated, “Schroeder vicariously committed the actual offense of child molesting and, regardless of Tryon’s Class B felony charge, his offense was properly classified as a Class A felony due to his age.”

Meanwhile, the Court found Schroeder’s 54-year sentence appropriate, concurred with the trial court’s characterization of Schroeder and Tryon as “horrid, (vile), illegal, disgusting perpetrators,” and considered “unpersuasive” Schroeder’s contention that the victim’s young age made the offense less “repulsive.”

“Schroeder’s character also does not warrant a reduction in his sentence,” the Court added. “The evidence showed that Schroeder turned Tryon in to the police because he was mad at her, not because he objected to the child molestations and the child pornography. In fact, he had been in possession of child pornography for quite some time and had created an extensive library of photographs and videos. Schroeder also told Tryon, A.F., and Harris that he wanted to have sexual contact with his future children. At sentencing, he expressed no remorse for his own actions and continued to blame the women in his life. He claimed that his only crime was not reporting the molestations fast enough. The evidence shows otherwise.”


Posted 11/12/2013