Eric Ryan Crider, 25, will remain in prison after a three-judge appeals court panel in Kansas City on Tuesday rejected his complaint he should not have been convicted in a Callaway County child molestation case.
In his appeal, Crider argued the state failed to prove the victim was under 14 years old at the time the crimes occurred.
The state’s evidence included the girl’s birth date as Jan. 27, 2001 — making her 13 in December 2014.
But — citing a 1986 Missouri law that says “the life of each human being begins at conception” — Crider argued the girl’s age should have been calculated from the date of her conception, not her date of birth.
In a four-page ruling, Judge Lisa White Hardwick, writing for the three-judge panel, cited a 1990 federal court opinion that also rejected Crider’s argument.
In that case, then-Missouri Secretary of State Roy Blunt and his staff determined a potential candidate was too young to run for state representative because the state Constitution requires representatives to be at least 24.
The would-be candidate sued the state in federal court, also citing the 1986 law and arguing his age should have been calculated from the date of his conception.
But the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the candidate “presented no evidence that the state legislature intended to change the sensible and time-honored method of calculating age when it enacted (the 1986 law). Age has always been calculated from the date of birth, which unlike the precise date of conception, can be determined with certainty.”
And White Hardwick said the appeals court agreed with the federal court’s 1990 ruling, noting the 1986 state law “does not provide a legal basis for calculating the age of a person based on the date of conception.”
Crider is serving a 90-year sentence — 30 years on each of the three child molestation counts — at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking.
He was living in Holts Summit in December 2014 when he was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.
Callaway County Prosecutor Chris Wilson charged Crider on March 18, 2015, with three counts of first-degree child molestation — a crime state law defines as subjecting a person “who is less than fourteen years of age to sexual contact.”
Crider waived a jury trial, and Circuit Judge Robert “Jeff” Harris heard the evidence in a bench trial Nov. 9, 2016, then found Crider guilty on all three counts.