Staff and Wire Reports

FAIRVIEW, Oklahoma -- A Fairview couple and their son and daughter have pleaded no contest to abusing a girl the couple adopted in 2005.

Ardee Tyler, 52, and Penny Tyler, 46, each pleaded no contest in Major County District Court to one felony count of child abuse.  Twenty-year-old Ashton Tyler pleaded no contest to rape by instrumentation and 21-year-old Nathania Tyler pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of assault and battery. All four signed written confessions last October documenting the abuse.

The couple admitted to forcing the girl to sleep outside in the cold.

Ardee Tyler said in the confession that he told the child, "If you're going to act like a dog, I will treat you like a dog."

The couple also admitted to tying the girl to a bedpost. Major County's assistant district attorney Tom Haworth said the no contest pleas are a step towards justice.

"In a way you can look at it like a jury found them guilty, and now you're in front of a judge to determine punishment received," Haworth said.

Haworth said the maximum punishment for felony child abuse is life in prison, but the minimum is a $500 fine.

"I am going to be asking for some type of incarceration whether it be five or ten years. I will be asking for incarceration," Haworth said.

The Tylers' son faces a punishment of not less that five years on the charge of rape by instrumentation.

Meanwhile, the alleged victim's four sisters, all adopted from Liberia together, are still staying with the Tylers in their isolated home. The arrangement has led to outrage among community members in Fairview who say they are still working on getting the remaining Liberian children out of the house.  The community has dedicated the Web site to helping save the four adopted Liberian girls.

Sentencing for the Tyler family is scheduled for January 29th.

The defense is expected to ask for deferred sentences, which could lead to the Tyler's getting the case expunged from their records if they follow probation rules.