A jury debated less than two hours Wednesday before finding that Randy Lee Tyer, 57, sexually assaulted a girl he knew when she was 8 and 9 years old.

Tyer sat stone-faced as the jury found him guilty of sexual intercourse without consent, two charges of sexual assault, and indecent exposure to a minor. All of the charges are felonies that allegedly occurred between Jan. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016.

Tyer faces up to two terms of life in prison, plus 200 years, as well fines of up to $200,000. He was charged earlier this year. He allegedly denied committing a sexual assault when confronted, saying “it’s not child molestation if there’s no penetration.”

Sentencing is set for Jan. 11. The case was tried by Judge James Haynes, and began on Monday.

The girl told her mother in September 2016 that Tyer touched her inappropriately. She later was interviewed at Emma’s House, where she said he would pull down his pants and show her his genitals, along with making inappropriate sexual contact.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Brian Smith told the 12-member jury that Tyer denied any inappropriate touching, and while they might want to believe the testimony of the girl, now 10, they had to presume Tyer’s innocence unless the facts proved otherwise.

“You may want so dearly to believe a 10-year-old girl,” Smith said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but that can lead to errors when you act on emotion and act on sympathy. The judge will tell you that’s what you can’t do. That leads us down the path of mistakes. That’s not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Meghann Paddock, a deputy county attorney, countered that the brave young girl took the stand and told a room full of strangers very private details about what happened to her. Paddock noted that the more the girl shared with trusted adults, the more information came out about the allegations.

“She didn’t concoct something she made up to come here and tell a room full of strangers,” Paddock said.

Haynes told the jury that Tyer would be jailed until his sentencing, and is facing similar charges in Colorado. He ordered a pre-sentence report, along with a psycho-sexual exam for Tyer, who left the courtroom in handcuffs.


Associate Editor

Associate Editor at The Ravalli Republic