BENTON - A Sikeston man was sentenced 30 years in prison Thursday after being found guilty of sodomy.
Elmer Tyra, 62, was sentenced to 30 years for first degree statutory sodomy, Scott County Prosecutor Paul R. Boyd reported today. The two-day trial last November found Tyra guilty of having anal intercourse with a victim under age 12 in August 2001.
At sentencing, the court reviewed the pre-sentence investigation from the probation officer, who recommended that Tyra not be given any form of probation due to the nature of his offense. A person convicted of first degree statutory sodomy faces five to 30 years in prison. Tyra received the maximum sentence.
"Evidence presented at trial showed Tyra to be a perpetrator of sex offenses against a child victim," Boyd said. "A perpetrator of sexual offenses is someone who commits them on victims available to the offender such as friends, family or close acquaintances."
Boyd explained that a perpetrator is not the same as a serial pedophile. "A pedophile is someone who picks their victims at random from strangers based on the offender's desire for victims of a certain age." He said generally, a sex offender will assault numerous victims before they are caught and prosecuted for the first time. "All sexual offenders leave the victim with a life sentence of pain, distrust and confusion - especially when the victim is a child."
Detective James McMillen worked the case for the Sikeston Department of Public Safety in coordination with the Missouri Children's Division Forensic Interviewer Tammy Gwaltney from the Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence and Dr. Steve Larsen, who is a former local counselor.
"Without the combined cooperation of individuals and agencies in the community, the successful prosecution of Tyra would not have been possible," Boyd added.
"We all have to remember, children are not adults when it comes to reporting crimes." he said. "The way children disclose abuse and remember events that have occurred to them is not the same way an adult will remember or disclose similar events."
He added that children are in a powerless vacuum when the individual violating them is in control. "When dealing with children, one must be aware that their impressions of time will not be as concrete as an adult's concept of time.
Generally, what the child will remember is what happened, who it was and where it took place."