AUGUSTA — The former facilities director of Bread of Life Ministries pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he sexually assaulted a victim at least three times over several years, beginning when she was a minor.

Jeffrey A. Tyler, 48, of Augusta pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at the Capital Judicial Center to two counts of gross sexual assault and one count of sexual abuse of a minor.

Jeffrey A. Tyler

The charges against Tyler, each of which involves the same victim, allege he raped her twice June 22, 2018, when she was an adult. The charges also allege Tyler sexually assaulted her when she was 14 or 15 years old between Aug. 2, 2012, and Aug. 2, 2014, in China.

Tyler’s next court date is set for May 5. He remains free on bail, having put up $20,000 in real estate. His bail conditions prohibit him from having contact with the alleged victim or with children younger than 16.

Tyler’s bail conditions were modified Tuesday at the request of his lawyer, Scott Hess, to allow Tyler to travel out of state, to work and to travel with his son, who is applying to graduate schools, to schools in other states.

Hess said Tyler works in home winterization and preservation and has had opportunities to work in New Hampshire that he was unable to take previously due to not being allowed to leave the state. He said Tyler is a longtime Maine resident and an established member of the community.

Augusta-based Bread of Life Ministries, where Tyler worked previously, operates a homeless shelter on Hospital Street, a soup kitchen and an office on Water Street and other housing in the area.

Formerly of Winthrop, Tyler was arrested in September, based on allegations made by the victim. In June 2018, the alleged victim told police she and Tyler “became sexually involved” when she was 14 years old. The two met through their families.

The alleged victim told police the two had emailed each other since she was 12 and sent nude pictures to each other when she was 15. An affidavit filed by Detective Ryan Brockway of the Maine State Police said Tyler and the alleged victim met in public before the alleged sexual assaults.

Tyler reportedly told the alleged victim not to tell anyone about the incidents.

The alleged victim told police said she would meet Tyler at his Augusta office, and that he gave her a key to the office when she was a freshman in college.

The Kennebec Journal is not identifying the victim because its policy is not to identify victims or alleged victims of sexual crimes without their consent.

The alleged victim told police Tyler raped her in 2018 at a State Street office after she said she did not want to remove her pants. She told police she was “scared when this was going on.”

One of the gross sexual assault counts alleges the girl submitted to having sex as a result of compulsion, while the other count alleges she had not acquiesced to the sexual act.

Tyler told police he met the alleged victim when she was 12 but did not have sex with her until she was 18, according to the affidavit. He denied he had sent nude pictures until last year.

Tyler is no longer employed by Bread of Life Ministries, although Executive Director John Richardson has declined to provide details of when and how Tyler left the nonprofit organization.

Instead, Richardson provided a statement saying Bread of Life Ministries “was shocked and saddened to learn of these allegations relating to our former employee.”

“We are deeply concerned, though we do not believe there was ever any threat to our client or the general public,” the statement reads. “As a committed member of this community, we have cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.