VALPARAISO | Center Township resident Ryan Schroeder has asked the Indiana Court of Appeals to dismiss the five most serious convictions from last year holding him responsible for convincing women to molest children.
The 27-year-old is also seeking to reduce his 54-year prison sentence to five and a half years.
Schroeder, who was found guilty in December on 23 counts in the high profile case, argues he should not have been convicted of the five A felony counts of aiding in child molesting because one of his co-defendants, Tara Tryon, faced no more than a B felony count of molestation for carrying out the acts.
Prosecutors opted not to offer jurors the choice of convicting him on a B felony, according to the appeal filed by defense attorney Bryan Truitt.
"They opted for an all or nothing strategy," he wrote. "Their zeal to hang Schroeder overwhelmed their rational evaluation of the case and the law."
Schroeder also argues the 54-year sentence given to him by Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper is inappropriate.
The factors used to lengthen the term do not have any foundation in the evidence, according to the appeal.
Schroeder argues, in part, that the 2-year-old boy molested by Tryon is too young to have memories of the abuse like older children.
He said his 54-year sentence, which requires at least 44 years to be served, is far more than the 10 years given to the actual molester, Tryon, that can be completed in five years.
"How can anyone justify such disparity?" Schroeder asks.
The December trial featured graphic testimony about Schroeder directing several women to take pornographic photos and videos of children, and of unsuspecting women in various states of undress and in toilet stalls. He also was accused of having the women steal underwear and carry out other various sexual activities.