Major Co. judge to decide family’s sentence in adoption abuse
BY ANN KELLEY
Andee Verlon Tyler, 51, and his wife, Penny Tyler, 46, along with their son, Ashton Malachi Tyler, 20, on Wednesday pleaded no contest and waived their right to a preliminary hearing in Major County District Court.
The two elder Tylers face felony child abuse charges for the alleged abuse of their adopted 11-year-old Liberian daughter. Ashton Tyler is accused of sexually assaulting his adopted sister and is charged with rape by instrumentation.
The Tylers’ daughter, NathaniaTyler, 21, also was accused in the case. She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of assault and battery.
The family is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Jan 29.
Assistant District Attorney Tim Haworth said a judge will decide the Tylers’ punishment.
"We’ve said all along there would be no plea bargain in this case, leaving them few options outside going to trial,” Haworth said. "They’ve chose to blind plea and let a judge decide their fate.”
The girl, now 13, has been living out of state with relatives.
Haworth declined to say if her four Liberian sisters, also adopted by the Tylers, remained in their adoptive parents’ home.
The five sisters were adopted in 2005 from a Liberian orphanage operated by the West African Children Support Network, The Oklahoman found.
Haworth said the outcome of the criminal case could affect a pending deprived juvenile case being battled over the girls in family court.
"Obviously, if their parents are incarcerated, something will happen to the girls,” Haworth said, adding there would be no custody change until the criminal case is resolved.
An officer with a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter claims the girl and her sisters, ranging from 5 to 15, are victims of a child slavery scam.
Angela Molette, president of the Garfield County NAACP, compiled a 28-page report and alleges the children are part of an international child trafficking operation where Americans buy children to turn into slaves.
Molette alleges the Tylers paid $30,000 to $40,000 for the children, and got financial help from their church for the adoption.