Community Fights for Liberian Girls after Alleged Abuse
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
FAIRVIEW, Oklahoma -- A case of child abuse in Fairview has caused a town and others from across the country to come in efforts to get them out of an alleged terrible situation.
Penny and Ardee Tyler are accused of abusing a girl they adopted from Africa.
According to court documents, the Tylers forced the 12-year-old girl to sleep outside and tied her to a bed on another occasion. The Tyler's biological son and daughter are also accused of abusing the girl.
A judge removed the girl from the home but her four sisters are still there.
That's why a group in Fairview is working to get the girls out of the home and into safety. The group has met with the Major County District Attorney, the sheriff and the police chief in hopes of speeding up the process.
"It's way too long, it's way overdue because they've been in the country four years already in this situation," Janice Wichert, who helped inform police of the alleged abuse,said.
Most in the group have been working for the last year to try and get the Major County court to remove the remaining four Liberian children from the Tyler's home.
Liberian pastor Tabe Brownell and Atlanta-based attorney Melvin Johnson have joined the group's efforts.
"From a human perspective, if this were my daughter, God forbid, I certainly would not want this to take this long," Johnson said.
Penny and Ardee Tyler along with their two biological children were each charged with some form of abuse on one of the five sisters and each signed a written confession.
Many in the group don't understand why, after that, the other four sisters weren't immediately removed.
Members of the group said the girls' father has heard of the abuse but is helpless half a world away.
"That's the irony of all this. It's that he was hoping for a better future and he sacrificed in an effort to get that and now we're faced with what we're faced with," Johnson said.
Attempts to contact the Tylers were unsuccessful.
Johnson said he is working to represent the adopted sisters and expects that to happen next week. He is also from Liberia.
Penny and Ardee Taylor are scheduled to appear in court Friday for a routine hearing. Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse.
Learn more about WeepNoMore.org, a Web site dedicated to helping save the four adopted Liberian girls.