Sex abuse suspect banned from Box Elder County

Monday , August 11, 2014 - 4:58 PM

Tim Gurrister

OGDEN — Despite the fact his charges were recently reduced, Ryan Schaffer is effectively banned from Box Elder County pending trial on charges of sexual contact with a minor.

At a status conference Monday in 2nd District Court, Heidi Nestel, state Victims Rights Council coordinator, objected to the lowering of Schaffer’s bail from $100,000 down to $40,000 last month. The alleged victim in the case was not informed and was therefore denied a chance to speak at the bail hearing, she said.

“I’m not asking you to reconsider your bail decision, your honor,” she told Judge Mark DeCaria, “Just to address the concerns of the victim.”

The boy lives in Box Elder County, she said, and she asked that Schaffer be banned from the county, only allowed to traverse it on Interstate 15.

“I’m not a huge fan of that kind of an overreaching prohibition,” Schaffer’s defense attorney, Paul Remy, responded. “It’s not doable and unenforceable, and there’s already a no-contact order in place.”

Prosecutor Letitia Toombs suggested fitting Schaffer with an ankle-bracelet monitor “to create an electronic fence, essentially.”

After some three-way debate, the judge decided on a modified ban, but still countywide.

“I’m going to order that the defendant not enter into Box Elder County unless he’s there on business that can be verified,” DeCaria said.

In such a case, he cannot come within 1,000 feet of the listed victim in the case, he said. Otherwise, Schaffer can travel only across the county on 1-15 or other major thoroughfares, the judge ruled.

Prosecutors in January in obtaining the original $100,000 bail said Schaffer had been seen in the vicinity of the boy’s apartment complex after he was formally charged.

Schaffer, 34, was initially charged a year ago with aggravated kidnapping and sodomy, all first-degree felonies, accused of kidnapping at knifepoint a 14-year-old boy from the Ogden FrontRunner station on July 3, 2013.

The boy claimed Schaffer sexually abused him multiple times over a period of three days in various Ogden locations, coercing him with a knife and a gun, according to original charging documents filed July 31, 2013.

Schaffer was arrested the next month in California, extradition processes delaying his arraignment in Ogden until January of this year, where his original $40,000 bail was raised to $100,000.

Last month in addition to the bail being reduced, so were the charges. The kidnapping charge has been dismissed and the sodomy counts reduced to three counts of third-degree felony unlawful sexual conduct.

Court documents don’t say why the charges were reduced, but the new charges are considered statutory offenses involving a victim too young to legally consent to sexual activity, while the original charges implied coercion and force

Toombs on Monday declined to comment on the reductions.

Remy would only say, “Obviously, I have some strong feelings about that, but I’m not going to say what they are. This family has been through enough with this case in the media.”

A preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 23.

Schaffer is also charged with failure to register as a sex offender from a 2007 conviction for possession of child pornography.

Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238 or Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister

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