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Ethan substitute teacher fined $900 for sending explicit photos to students

ETHAN -- A substitute teacher charged with sending sexually explicit photos to students pleaded guilty to the charges Thursday and was ordered to pay about $900 in fines and costs.

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ETHAN - A substitute teacher charged with sending sexually explicit photos to students pleaded guilty to the charges Thursday and was ordered to pay about $900 in fines and costs.

Tyler Myers, 20, of Ethan, appeared in court Thursday in Mitchell and pleaded guilty to three counts of disseminating harmful material to minors, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Myers was sentenced to 60 days in jail for each count, all concurrent and suspended. He was also ordered to pay a $200 fine and court costs of $84 for each count, a total of $852, which must be paid within 90 days.

The charges were filed after law enforcement received a report from Ethan High School on March 9 that Myers, who worked infrequently as a substitute physical education teacher but more commonly as a substitute janitor, sent an explicit image of himself to a 17-year-old female student via Snapchat on March 7. Law enforcement later discovered photos sent to two more 17-year-old students.

Judge Gordon Swanson considered ordering Myers to attend counseling as well, but determined it was unnecessary for his situation.

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"I don't think you're the kind of kid who's going to be a danger of engaging in inappropriate conduct again," Swanson said. "Obviously, it's been a difficult and messy lesson for you."

Swanson also questioned the wisdom of the Ethan School District in placing a "20-year-old kid" in charge of high school students.

Chief Deputy State's Attorney Robert O'Keefe said Myers had interaction with all three students in the past, and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation later discovered additional photos sent to other students.

"Clearly a person in his position should not be sending graphic photos to juvenile females he has supervision over," O'Keefe said.

The state agreed not to file charges related to the more recently discovered alleged photographs.

According to Myers' attorney, Doug Papendick, sexual-offender registration is not required for the offense, and the ages between Myers and the juveniles are not far apart. Two of the minors in question have turned 18 since the incident occurred, and the third will be 18 in October.

"If this had been two months later, there wouldn't have been any charges in respect to (two of) them," Papendick said.

Papendick said the incident "has been pretty life-changing" for Myers, who was attending Dakota State University with the intent of majoring in physical education. Not only did his employment at Ethan High School end immediately, he now must consider changing career paths.

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Myers was ordered to obey all laws for one year. If he fails to abide by that instruction or fails to pay his fines and costs, his sentence may be imposed.

Related Topics: CRIME
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