BOONE, Iowa—Sentencing took place today in Boone County District Court for Ryan Christopher Barnhardt, 38, of Marshalltown, Iowa. Barnhardt had been convicted of multiple sex offenses and was found guilty by a Boone County jury last month. The sentencing was announced in a release from the Boone County Attorney’s office.
On March 24, 2017, a District Court Judge sentenced Ryan Christopher Barnhardt, 38, of Marshalltown, Iowa to 205 years in prison. According to the Judge’s sentence he must serve a mandatory minimum of 122.5 years before he is eligible for parole. The sentencing is a result of a jury trial from February 14th to February 17th. In this trial a Boone County jury found, Ryan Christopher Barnhardt, 38, of Marshalltown, Iowa, guilty of seven (7) counts of Sex Abuse in the 2nd Degree and three (3) counts Sex Abuse in the 3rd Degree, in violation of Iowa Code section 709.3 and 709.4, respectively.
According to the testimony at trial, officers with the Boone Police Department received a report about Ryan Barnhardt previously committing sex abuse on a child. The Boone Police Department investigated the case and found four other victims of sex abuse. Of the total of five victims, three were under the age of 12. All the victims testified in court stating that Ryan Barnhardt committed sex abuse upon them over the period of five years. Several Michigan State Troopers and the Michigan State Computer Crimes Unit testified in this case. While assisting with Boone Police Department on this case, Michigan State Troopers found a thumbdrive belonging to Ryan Barnhardt. Ryan Barnhardt’s thumbdrive contained videos of Ryan Barnhardt performing sex acts on a child. The defense claimed that all the kids were making up the allegations and they were suggested to make these claims by their parents to get back at Ryan Barnhardt. The State refuted these claims with the evidence and an expert from the Child Protection Center rebutting the myths about sex abuse.
The jury trial began on February 14, 2017, and ended on February 17, 2017, with the jury finding Ryan Christopher Barnhardt guilty of seven counts of Sex Abuse in the 2nd Degree which are Class B-felonies and guilty of three counts of Sex Abuse in the 3rd Degree which are Class C felonies. As a result of the guilty verdicts Ryan Barnhardt faced up to 205 years in prison.
A sentencing hearing was held in the Boone County District Court. In this hearing several parents of the children who Ryan Barnhardt victimized spoke to the court. Ryan Barnhardt’s attorney with the State Public Defender’s Office, objected several times during their emotional statements about how Ryan Barnhardt had impacted their children and what sentence they wanted to see the court impose. The defense argued for a mandatory minimum of 17 years with a possible maximum of 25 to 55 years. The State argued for the maximum sentence of 205 years due to the nature of the crime, the way Ryan Barnhardt used the children, manipulation, and violation of trust and the crimes he committed. The Court agreed with the State and sentenced Ryan Barnhardt’s ten counts to be consecutive to each other. In total Ryan Barnhardt received a maximum sentence of 205 years in prison with the Iowa Department of Corrections. Due to the nature of the charges Ryan Barnhardt must serve at least 122.5 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. The Court found that the consecutive sentence will protect the community along with providing rehabilitation for the Ryan Barnhardt. The Court noted that it was disgusted and shocked by Ryan Barnhardt’s conduct and he violated the trust of the parents and children.
Boone County Attorney, Daniel Kolacia and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Susan Krisko tried the case on behalf of the State of Iowa for the prosecution. The Boone Police Department investigated the case with the assistance of the Boone Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police.
(contributed article and photo Boone County Attorney’s office)