Jeffrey A. Tyler, the former facilities director of Bread of Life Ministries, was sentenced Thursday to one year behind bars for having a sexual relationship with a girl that started when she was a teenager. Above, The Bread of Life Ministries Shelter on Hospital Street in Augusta is seen in October 2021. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — The former facilities director of Bread of Life Ministries was sentenced to one year behind bars for having a sexual relationship with a girl that started when she was 14 or 15 years old.

Jeffrey A. Tyler, 51, formerly of Augusta, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual abuse of a minor, a Class C felony, at the Capital Judicial Center on Thursday. In a plea agreement, Tyler pleaded guilty to that lone charge while two counts of gross sexual assault, one of them a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, were dismissed by prosecutors.

Tyler was arrested by police in September of 2019, based on allegations made by the victim to police in June 2018. She told police she and Tyler “became sexually involved” when she was 14 years old.

The victim told police that the two emailed each other since she was 12 and sent nude pictures to each other when she was 15. The charge he pleaded guilty to Thursday states he engaged in a sexual act with her when she was 14 or 15, in the town of China.

He was sentenced to five years in prison, with all but one year suspended. That means if Tyler complies with the terms of his two-year probation, which include that he have no contact with the victim, undergo sex offender counseling, register on the state sex offender registry for the next 25 years and not use or possess any weapons, he will serve one year in prison. If he violates those conditions he could be required to serve the full five-year term.

The victim, in a statement read in court by a victim advocate, said when they met through a family friend, she was innocent and trusting of the adults in her life, but that innocence was then stolen by Tyler who she said used his position of power to abuse her.


“You took advantage of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl for your own sexual benefits,” her statement said. “There is no amount of time you can serve that will give me those years back. What you did was not OK, and never will be OK. You’ve ruined a crucial period of my life, but I will not let you ruin the rest of it.”

The Kennebec Journal is not identifying the now-adult victim because it does not identify victims of sexual assaults without their consent.

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the victim agreed to the proposed resolution to the case to avoid the trauma of a trial where she would have had to relive details of the incidents with Tyler. Maloney said she could not be prouder of the victim, whom she first met more than three years ago when the two had a conversation about what happened but the girl at first declined to reveal her name. She said a few days later they spoke again and she revealed her name, and State Police Detective Ryan Brockway then conducted a thorough investigation and charged Tyler.

“Today Mr. Tyler was held accountable due to the bravery of the victim and the investigation of Detective Brockway,” Maloney said Thursday.

An affidavit filed by Brockway said Tyler admitted he had sex with the victim but he said she was 18 at the time.

Tyler’s attorney, Donald Hornblower, said Tyler has accepted the consequences in the case. He said he has also suffered consequences beyond the sentence, including members of his family disowning him.

Tyler has no prior criminal record.

The victim said she would meet Tyler, the former facilities director for the Bread of Life Ministries, which has a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen and housing, in his Augusta office. She said he gave her a key to the office when she was a freshman in college.

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