Former Portage teacher gets 120-day jail term in ‘sexting’ case
BY JAMES D. WOLF JR. Sun-Times Media January 15, 2014 12:20AM
Bryan Tyman was taken into custody immediately after a Tuesday morning hearing at which he pleaded guilty to felony child solicitation. He was sentenced to 120 days in the Porter County Jail. | Post-Tribune File Photo
VALPARAISO — The Portage middle-school teacher who “sexted” three students on a cellphone in 2012 went to jail Tuesday after pleading guilty to the crimes for a second time.
Bryan Lee Tyman, 45, was sentenced to 120 days in jail by Porter Superior Judge Mary Harper, based on a plea agreement unveiled Tuesday in court.
Tyman’s sentence will be reduced by six days already served in the Porter County Jail, and he will be on probation for three years and 10 months after he leaves jail. He also will forfeit his teaching license.
The former Fegley Middle School teacher was arrested last year.
The prosecution and the defense agreed to sentencing the same day that Tyman made his second plea on the case, and court security took Tyman into custody immediately after his morning hearing.
“My client really wants to get this matter behind him,” defense attorney Bryan Truitt said.
Tyman, who taught history at Fegley Middle School, had already pleaded guilty to two counts of Class D felony child solicitation on Sept. 4.
During the Nov. 13 sentencing hearing, Harper declined to accept the plea agreement that would have put Tyman on a year of home detention and five years probation after that, saying she wanted Tyman to serve time in jail. Tyman initially had pleaded guilty on Sept. 4 to two counts of Class D felony child solicitation.
Tuesday’s sentencing hearing attracted none of the television or radio coverage as earlier proceedings in the case. None of the parents of the victims were there, though one said Tuesday afternoon that the parents had not been told of Tuesday’s sentencing.
“We were looking forward to being there,” the parent said. “It’s like a slap in the face” that they weren’t notified, he said.
Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said Victim’s Assistance tried to contact parents of all three girls and heard back from two, but there was some confusion about the court date.
The victims’ parents told reporters after the Nov. 13 hearing that they approved of Harper insisting on some jail time.
Harper rejected the plea outright on Nov. 27 when Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek and Truitt returned without making changes.
Truitt and Polarek said they thought the agreement they worked out was fair, and Polarek repeated that Tuesday.
Truitt said the new agreement may work better for his client.
“Ultimately, this is more lenient than the initial plea in that it’s two years less probation and no home detention,” he said.
Under this agreement and the previous one, Tyman pleaded guilty to one Class D felony child solicitation charge for a December 2011 incident and another Class D felony child solicitation charge for the texting incident.
The state dropped a charge of Class D felony charge of vicarious sexual gratification.
In 2011, Tyman was texting with a student, and she asked him what he wanted for Christmas.
He texted back, “I think you know what I want,” and she told police he had begun to get creepy.
In December 2012, she was with two other students when one began texting him in a sexually suggestive way.
Although he insisted it was inappropriate, he eventually sent the girls a photo of himself naked from the waist down.
The state previously dropped a more serious and unrelated charge of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor.
The case alleged that he had a sexual relationship with a girl in summer of 2012, although she later said she was 16, the age of consent, when it happened.