The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument Friday that he couldn’t be convicted of Class A felony child molesting under the accessory statute because the perpetrator was under 21 at the time of the molestations.
Ryan Schroeder, 24, began a relationship with Tara Tryon, 19, who agreed to take nude pictures of the children she babysat and send them to Schroeder. She also molested the children at his request and photographed it. Around this time, Schroeder began a relationship with Adrienne Harris, who had a 2-year-old daughter. He asked Harris to send nude photographs of her daughter and touch her inappropriately. Schroder also had a relationship with 16-year-old A.F. and asked her to secretly photograph other women, including her mother.
The State charged Schroeder with five counts of Class A felony child molesting, one count of Class C felony child molesting, seven counts of Class C felony child exploitation, one count of Class D felony theft, seven counts of Class D felony possession of child pornography, and two counts of Class D felony voyeurism.
The child molesting, child exploitation, theft and one of the voyeurism charges were based on his accomplice liability with Tryon as the principal. The other voyeurism charge was based on his accomplice liability with A.F. as the principal. Ultimately, A.F. was not charged for her conduct, and she testified against Schroeder. Harris pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of production of child pornography, and she is serving 25 years in federal prison. She also testified against Schroeder.
He argued that, under the accessory statute, he could only be convicted of a Class B felony because Tryon was under 21 years old. He also argued that Counts 1 through 5 should be dismissed because they violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
He was convicted as charged and sentenced to a total of 54 years, which the judges found to not be inappropriate.
“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. We conclude that, to prove Schroeder’s accomplice liability for child molesting, the State was required to show that he was at least twenty-one years old and that he knowingly or intentionally aided, induced, or caused Tryon to perform deviate sexual conduct with A.B., who was less than fourteen years old. The State presented sufficient evidence to meet its burden,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote in Ryan R. Schroeder v. State of Indiana, 64A03-1302-CR-39.