Adoptive brother of Liberian girl sentenced for Oklahoma rape
BY ANN KELLEY
FAIRVIEW — Ashton Tyler confessed to sexually assaulting his adopted Liberian sister but cast most of the blame for his actions on the 9-year-old girl, according to court records.
Major County District Judge Ray Dean Linder on Wednesday sentenced Tyler, 20, to two years in prison and eight years probation for the assault.
As part of the sentence, Tyler is required to complete a treatment program for sex offenders, register as a sex offender and pay a $2,000 fine.
The rape occurred when Tyler was 15. His victim was one of five Liberian-born sisters adopted by his parents in 2005.
Tyler pleaded no contest to felony rape by instrumentation and allowed a judge to choose his sentence, rather than a jury.
Tyler told investigators he carried the girl into his bedroom and assaulted her in his bed, according to a presentence investigative report given to the court.
He claimed he was sexually naive and the victim made sexual advances toward him on more than one occasion.
Assistant District Attorney Westline Ritter said she found it disturbing that Tyler never took responsibility for his actions and blamed the victim.
Parents convicted of abusing girl
Tyler’s parents, Ardee Verlon Tyler, 51, and Penny Sue Tyler, 46, were convicted in February of felony child abuse for abusing the same girl. Both received 10-year suspended prison sentences, although Penny Tyler is required to serve 60 days in the county jail.
She is scheduled to be released March 22, and was not in the courtroom alongside her son.
Prosecutors won their fight to have Ashton Tyler sentenced as an adult, rather than under the Youthful Offender’s Act.
Linder ultimately determined Ashton Tyler is too old to be incarcerated in a juvenile detention center if sentenced as a youthful offender.
He said state prisons are eliminating treatment programs for sex offenders so Tyler will likely have to seek treatment on his own when released.
The victim had attended the sentencing for her former parents but found it too painful to attend Wednesday’s hearing, said Barbara Johnson, the girl’s guardian.
Johnson said the girl was initially afraid to tell anyone about the sexual assault because she was afraid she and her older sister would be sent to jail.
She said the abuse and the sexual assault has taken its toll on the girl. Johnson said the girl broke out in hives during her last visit to Fairview and will have to undergo counseling for years to put the abuse behind her.
Ardee Tyler was the only witness to testify on behalf of his son.
The father claimed the victim was already sexually active before she came to live in his home, and blamed himself for not learning more about the girls’ history before adopting them.
The statement brought moans from a group of Liberian-born Oklahomans there to watch the sentencing.
Linder halted the proceeding, cautioning the audience to keep their emotions at bay, and Ardee Tyler from making derogatory statements against the victim.
Tyler went on to say he’s never had problems with his son, and doesn’t believe he will reoffend.
"Ashton is very remorseful,” Ardee Tyler said. "If he could take that 15 minutes out of his life he would.”