By: Joe Malan
FAIRVIEW — Four members of a Fairview family pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges of abusing a girl the family adopted in 2005.
Ardee Verlon Tyler, 52, and Penny Sue Tyler, 46, pleaded no contest in Major County District Court to one felony count each of child abuse.
Ashton Malachi Tyler, 20, pleaded no contest to a felony count of rape by instrumentation. Nathania Dellare Tyler, 21, who was not in court Wednesday, also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of assault and battery through the family’s attorney, Ron Willis, of Enid.
Court documents allege between 2005 and 2007, a 12-year-old girl, one of five adopted by the family in 2005, was abused, raped and assaulted by members of the family.
If convicted of the charges, Ardee Tyler and Penny Tyler could receive punishment ranging from a $500 fine to life in prison.
Ashton Tyler could serve no less than five years maximum in prison if convicted on his charge.
Pre-sentencing investigations for all four charges will be completed no later than Jan. 15, said Major County District Judge Dean Linder.
Sentencing on all four charges is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Major County Courthouse in Fairview.
According to an affidavit prepared by Major County District Attorney’s Office Investigator Steve Tanio, the girl told a woman who was going to adopt her of the offenses.
On Sept. 9, 2008, Barbara Louise Thomas-Johnson was in the process of adopting the girl when the girl told her she had previously lived with the Tyler family, according to the affidavit. The girl told Thomas-Johnson she had been physically abused by Ardee and Penny Tyler. She said on two consecutive nights within the past year, she had been tied with rope and restrained to a bed in the basement of the residence, according to the affidavit.
She said she had also been tied with a rope to a chair during the same time period and had been forced to sleep outside the house when the temperature was cold, according to the affidavit.
On Feb. 19, 2008, Oklahoma Department of Human Services welfare specialist Whitney Reuss interviewed Ardee and Penny Tyler, and they admitted they had tied the girl’s hands to a bed, according to the affidavit.
On Sept. 24, 2008, Tanio spoke with Janice Wichert, who said she had known Ardee and Penny Tyler and the 12-year-old girl since April 2007. She said she was informed the Tylers had forced the girl to stay outside all night as a punishment for stealing food, according to the affidavit. She also said she became aware the girl had been tied to the bed and a chair.
Wichert also told Tanio on May 4, 2007, she had accompanied Beverly Heinrichs and Scott Neufeld to the residence. While they were there, Heinrichs told Tanio she heard Ardee Tyler admit they had forced the girl to stay outside as punishment for stealing a cookie, according to the affidavit.
On Sept. 14, 2008, Scott Neufeld told Tanio on May 4, 2007, he went with Wichert and Heinrichs to the residence. Nuefeld said Ardee Tyler told him he had forced the girl to stay outside all night long to punish her for stealing the cookie. When Neufeld told Tyler he could turn him into DHS for the abuse, Tyler replied, “Maybe you should,” according to the affidavit.
Tanio also interviewed Ardee Tyler on Sept. 24, 2008. He told Tanio he had adopted the girl in August 2005 and moved her to his residence in Fairview. He indicated to Tanio he had physically abused the girl sometime between January and October 2007 at their residence, according to the affidavit. Ardee said on one occasion in the fall of 2007, the girl lied to him and his wife, then urinated on the floor. He said he told the girl, “If you’re going to act like a dog, I will treat you like a dog and let you stay outside,” according to the affidavit. Tyler said he then forced the girl outside, where she remained between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
On another occasion, Ardee Tyler said, he tied the girl’s hands with a cloth and restrained her to a vertical post next to the stairwell inside the residence. He also admitted on another occasion to tying her hands together and restraining her to the bed post between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the affidavit.
Ardee Tyler told Tanio in each of these instances “that what I did was wrong and am sorry for doing it. I am sorry for doing all of these things and I will never do any of them again,” according to the affidavit. He gave Tanio a handwritten statement of the admissions in the presence of two members of the Major County Sheriff’s Office.
In a separate affidavit, the girl indicated to Thomas-Johnson she had been sexually assaulted by Ashton Tyler in early 2007.
On Sept. 24, 2008, Tanio spoke to Ashton Tyler, who told him on one occasion in 2005, when he was 15 years old and the girl was 9 years old, he sexually assaulted her, according to the affidavit.
Ashton Tyler told Tanio, “It was a terrible mistake and I’m so sorry, I never did it again, please forgive me,” according to the affidavit.
Ashton Tyler made the admissions before two members of the Major County Sheriff’s Office, and he also provided a handwritten statement of the admissions, according to the affidavit.
On Sept. 24, 2008, Tanio also interviewed Nathania Tyler, according to another affidavit. She told Tanio that sometime between January and October 2007, she disciplined the girl by tying a rope around the girl’s wrists and ankles and tying her to the vertical post by the stairwell, according to the affidavit. Nathania told Tanio she untied the girl after she had been restrained for approximately 1 to 11Ú2 hours.
Nathania Tyler also told Tanio she was aware of two consecutive nights during the same time period when Ardee Tyler used cloth to tie the girl’s hands together and physically restrain her to a bed in the basement of the residence between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the affidavit. She admitted to Tanio her actions were wrong and that she would never do it again, according to the affidavit.