Portage teacher gets 120 days in jail 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.

January 14, 2014 2:54:09 PM PST
A former northwest Indiana teacher is sentenced to 120 days in jail for sending explicit text messages to three students on a cell phone.

Bryan Lee Tyman pleaded guilty. He was a middle school teacher in Portage.

Tyman tried to reach a plea deal in the case in November. But the judge decided to throw it out and planned to force the teacher to stand trial in February. Parents of the victims wanted Tyman to serve jail time, which the original plea deal lacked.

"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.

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

"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 last fall in postponing a decision, 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."

"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 Truitt.

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.

"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.