Family fearful after man accused of kidnapping 14-year-old is released on bail

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22 2014 5:51 p.m. MST

OGDEN — A man charged with kidnapping and sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy posted bail Wednesday. But news of the man's release from jail has the boy's family fearing for his safety.

Ryan Mitchell Schaffer, 33, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and three counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies. Police say he kidnapped the boy at knife point and forced him to perform sex acts over three days.

“We were upset because we were told that there wasn’t going to be any bail at first,” said the boy’s stepmother, whose name is not being published to protect the teen’s identity.

The boy’s family said they were so scared and stunned by low bail that they immediately got a protective order. She said ever since the incident, the boy has been overcome with fear.

“He just wants to stay at home all the time because he’s scared to go out because he’s afraid it’s going to happen again,” she said Wednesday. “Every day we struggle with a new emotion or new situation, so we just have learned to take one day at a time.”

On July 3, Schaffer approached a 14-year-old boy as the teen stepped off FrontRunner at 2393 S. Wall Ave. and forced him at knife point to go with him, according to an arrest warrant.

For the next three days, the boy told police that Schaffer took him to several locations and forced him at gunpoint to perform sex acts at least three times. The boy was able to escape after he was at one point left alone.

“This is something that I think is going to haunt him for the rest of his life and that scares me and that upsets me,” the boy’s stepmother said. “We’re doing everything we can to get him to where he’s feeling safe again. He’s in treatment and getting good treatment and making progress.”

After the boy escaped, Schaffer fled Utah with the help of friends and family members, police said. Schaffer was arrested in California Aug. 9 on a no bail warrant.

He was just extradited to Utah Jan. 16, and during his first court hearing the next day he was granted bail at $35,000 by 2nd District Judge Scott M. Hadley. He posted bail and was released from jail Wednesday.

Defense attorney and former prosecutor Greg Skordas, who isn't involved in this case, said it appeared the judge followed standard guidelines for bail, which suggests $10,000 per felony.

"Whether this is a case that could have a minimum mandatory prison term, a judge could reasonably be expected to order a higher bail, but the bail that was set in this case is certainly not out of the realm of fairness,” Skordas said.

Prosecutors have filed a motion asking the court to reset bail. Prosecutors said the attorney in court on Friday was unaware of the circumstances of this case, not informed that the arrest warrant had been issued as a no bail warrant and didn't object to the standard bail.

They have since asked the judge to reset bail to $80,000. Schaffer should be back in court on Monday, and the judge will rule on a motion to increase the bail at that time.

James Retallick, Schaffer's attorney, said he's still getting all the facts, but he doesn't believe the case is what it appears to be.

But the boy’s family said Schaffer has fled the state once. He's also been charged with failing to register as a sex offender. They fear he may not show up for his next hearing or worse, he may reoffend.

“We feel for other children and their safety,” the stepmother said, “and we don’t want this to happen to anybody else’s children.”

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: syi@deseretnews.com

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