A Winthrop man was arrested Friday on charges of gross sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor after a victim alleged he began raping her at age 14.

A screenshot of the Bread of Life Ministries website, showing Jeffrey Tyler, still listed as the organization’s facilities director, as of Thursday afternoon.

Jeffery Tyler, 47, of Winthrop was arrested after police obtained a warrant based on testimony from the victim. He is being held in Kennebec County jail on $10,000 cash or $20,000 real estate bail. His conditions prohibit him from having contact with the victim or children under the age of 16. Court documents said Tyler met the alleged victim, who is now 21, when she was 12 and the relationship continued until this year.

The affidavit, written by Maine State Police Detective Ryan Brockway, said a female reported the assault to police on June 14, 2018. The Kennebec Journal is not naming the female because its policy is not to identify alleged victims of sexual crimes without their consent.

According to the affidavit, she said she and Tyler “became sexually involved … when she was 14 years old.” She said the “relationship had been going on for a period of six years.”

The victim told police that the two emailed each other since she was 12 and sending nude pictures to each other when she was 15. The affidavit said the two would meet in public places before alleged rapes in China and Windsor. Tyler reportedly told the victim not to tell anyone about their relationship because “he would have to go away.” The victim said she would meet Tyler, the facilities director for the Bread of Life Ministries, in his Augusta office. She said she received a key to the office when she was a freshman in college.

The victim told police that in 2018 that Tyler allegedly raped her in 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.” That same year, the victim reported that Tyler had allegedly visited her at work and raped her again after she said she did not want to have sex with him.

In July 2018, Tyler and the victim met in Augusta and, during a recorded portion of the meeting, Tyler said the victim could not tell the truth about their relationship. According to the affidavit, The victim reportedly told Tyler that the truth is that “they had sex when she was 14 years old (and he) said okay.”

Brockway wrote that he met with Tyler in January 2019 in Augusta. The affidavit said Tyler thought the reason Brockway wanted to speak with him was the affair with the victim. He told police that he met the victim when she was 12 but did not have sex with her until she was 18. He denied sending nude pictures until this year. Brockway reportedly prompted Tyler to speak about details of their “sexual relationship … when she was a minor” and Tyler reportedly said he would like to get his thoughts in order.

After the end of that conversation, Brockway served Tyler with a protection from abuse order for the victim because she was “increasingly afraid” of him. The victim stated that she believed Tyler had followed her while she went to college classes and work.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland said Tyler was arrested at Bread of Life Ministries on Friday.

Bread of Life Ministries Executive Director John Richardson emailed a statement to the Kennebec Journal Friday morning, but did not reply to an additional request for comment.

“Bread of Life Ministries was shocked and saddened to learn of these allegations relating to our former employee,” Richardson said in his statement. “We are deeply concerned, though we do not believe there was ever any threat to our clients or the general public. As a committed member of this community, we have cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so.”

Tyler’s picture was no longer on the Bread of Life Ministries website Friday, and further information about the longevity of his employment was not available by press time.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.