Judge postpones teacher plea sentence in sexting case

A sentencing hearing has been put on hold for a former Portage, Indiana, middle school teacher who sent explicit photos to three former students.
November 13, 2013 3:38:49 PM PST
A sentencing hearing has been put on hold for a former Portage, Indiana, middle school teacher who sent explicit photos to three former students.

Bryan Tyman reached a plea deal in the case. But the judge decided to not hand down a sentence.

Tyman left the Porter County Courthouse Wednesday morning without offering a comment to reporters. He left it to his attorney to respond to the judge rejecting a plea agreement that would have allowed him to avoid going to prison.

"We would have liked to have this behind us, like to have Bryan get on with his life," said Bryan Truitt, attorney.

"She really believes this entire situation is her fault. She came to me crying, saying it was her fault. She came to me apologizing, saying she didn't want to embarrass me or hurt me," said Roy Peeler, victim's father.

"My daughter is a victim of a psychological abuse crime, which was priming her for physical abuse," said Heather Antecki, victim's mom.

"I truly wanted to help kids. Somehow I lost my direction. My lack of judgment cost me my reputation, family, friends and a job I truly love," Tyman said. "I want to apologize for the girls who are involved in this and their families. I want to apologize to the school."

"It was criminal conduct," the judge said, adding there was "significant and unspeakable damage to the victims, impact on the girls, school, friends, and the community. I am not prepared to accept this agreement."

This is a first offense for Tyman, so as part of the plea deal he will have his teaching license revoked, he will be on probation for six years and on the sex offender registry for 10 years. But parents of the affected girls say that is simply not enough.

"Our girls are struggling every day, every day they wake up is a struggle for them," said Antecki.

"When you're at home, you can eat when you like, you can watch TV when you want. I think jail's a bit different ? they give you a bologna sandwich and tell you what time to go to bed and get up in the morning," said Peeler.

"He's agreeing to the maximum amount of probation, so he'll be supervised. He's lost his livelihood. He's been publicly humiliated. He's going to have a year of home detention," said Bryan Truitt, defense attorney.

The 45-year-old social studies teacher pleaded guilty to two charges of child solicitation. In court, he admitted to texting pictures of his private parts to some of his students at Portage's Fegely Middle School in December of 2012. A third charge of child solicitation and a more serious charge alleging sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old student were dismissed after the alleged victim decided not to go forward. Parents were outraged over the deal.

"We've been reading things, hearing things, but then actually hearing him admit to the charges, that was probably the most disheartening thing," said Antecky.

And while the agreement was signed off by attorneys on both sides, an upset judge made it clear in court that she does not have to accept the deal, giving parents hope that Tyman could still face prison time.

"I was pleased to see her reaction. She's a very fair judge. She's for our children and I don't think she'll let us down," said Peeler.

Tyman's defense attorney apologized on his behalf.

"He knows he was the adult, that he was the teacher, in a position of authority. As such, I think he's embarrassed. He's tremendously remorseful," said Truitt.

The next hearing is scheduled for November 27.


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