VALPARAISO | The criminal case against former Fegely Middle School teacher Bryan Tyman became more serious Wednesday when he was charged with having a sexual relationship with a former student that began two weeks before her 16th birthday.
The girl told police the sexual relationship began in August and they had sex twice while she was still 15 and then on average of once a week through Jan. 24 at his house in Portage.
She said 44-year-old Tyman had initiated contact with her in June through a private message on Facebook asking what she was wearing, according to the charging information. They began spending time together shopping and watching movies at his house, she said.
She said Tyman was aware she was younger than the legal age of consent, which is 16, because he had been her teacher, was friends with her mother and had bought her presents for her 16th birthday.
She also gave police a letter she said was written by Tyman that says in part, "My love for you must be kept quiet until you are old enough."
Pleas of not guilty were entered Wednesday on Tyman's behalf to the latest Class B felony charge of sexual misconduct with a minor and the two Class D felony counts of child solicitation and Class D felony vicarious sexual gratification filed Monday.
He faces six to 20 years behind bars on the Class B felony count and six months to three years on each of the other charges.
Tyman said little during an initial video hearing conducted Wednesday morning between the jail and courthouse. He was represented by defense attorney Bryan Truitt.
Senior Judge Raymond Kickbush set bond at $50,000 surety and $10,000 cash, which means Tyman needs to come up with a minimum of $15,000 to be released from the jail where he has been held since Friday.
Deputy Prosecutor Trista Hudson sought a much higher bond of $200,000 surety and $50,000 cash, arguing it was justified because there are four minors involved and Tyman was in a position of trust at the time of the alleged offenses as an eighth grade social studies teacher.
Tyman is accused in the first three charges with sending a sexually explicit photo of himself to a group of three girls on Dec. 29 and engaging in sexually explicit text messages on that date and during December 2011. Three of the girls were 15 at the time of the alleged offenses and the third was 14, Hudson said.
Kickbush ordered Tyman to have no further contact with the girls. A father of one of the girls was present during Wednesday's initial hearing.
Tyman, who has also served as coach of the Portage High School girls golf team, was fired Monday.