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Plea Deal Rejected, Trial Set For February In Teacher Sexting Case

VALPARAISO, Ind. (STMW) -- The Portage, Ind., middle school teacher who pleaded guilty to "sexting" with three students will go to trial in three months, despite his guilty plea to two counts of Class D felony child solicitation.

On Wednesday afternoon, Porter Superior Court Judge Mary Harper rejected a plea agreement in which Bryan Tyman would serve no incarceration, just a year of home detention, then set his trial for the week of Feb. 24, the Post-Tribune is reporting.

Tyman would also have served six years of probation, the longest oversight possible.

Both the prosecution and defense said they had met numerous times since the last hearing and felt the plea agreement to be just.

Harper delayed Tyman's Nov. 13 sentencing because she believed that he should serve about four months in Porter County Jail.

"I thought I gave you a parameter of what was a modest period of incarceration," Harper said to Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek and Defense Attorney Bryan Truitt. "I thought I gave you an opportunity to discuss it."

Harper made the decision Nov. 13 after hearing the parents testify how what happened over cellphones in December 2011 and December 2012 affected their daughters, making them pariahs for starting the texts with a popular teacher.

"I'm trying to get to the middle," Harper said Wednesday, adding that she might change her mind on incarceration during trial testimony and that she believed Polarek and Truitt had presented their points respectfully.

Polarek said they both stood by the original plea and "this is the most appropriate resolution given everything I know."

She and Truitt alluded to the girls avoiding having to go through depositions or testify at trial because of the plea.

Truitt said Polarek was not one to "give away the store" and is the toughest prosecutor in Northwest Indiana.

After the hearing, he said the three girls involved will now have to testify at trial about the texting, "their sexually explicit language" and the fantasies they typed in depositions, making it all public.

During a December 2012 sleepover, the girls began texting Tyman, describing sexual situations, and sent him nude photos from the Internet they said were themselves.

Tyman sent back a nude of himself.

The December before, he texted one of those girls, "I think you know what I want" for Christmas.

Roy Peeler and Heather Antecki, the parents of two of the girls, said if the girls take the stand, people will understand how "messed up" they've become.

Polarek and Truitt said another plea agreement is possible, but Polarek said, "I don't know where we'd go from here."

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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