Bellingham man faces amended charges in babysitter rape case

Tyler Ryan, left, with his attorney, David Allen, during an appearance in Whatcom Superior Court in Bellingham Tuesday, July 21, 2017.
Tyler Ryan, left, with his attorney, David Allen, during an appearance in Whatcom Superior Court in Bellingham Tuesday, July 21, 2017. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A Bellingham man accused of raping a teenage babysitter in 2015 pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to amended charges in his case, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records.

Whatcom County prosecutors amended charges against Tyler Eugene Ryan to one count of second-degree rape by forcible compulsion, third-degree rape of a child and intimidating a witness.

The 36-year-old Ryan was originally charged with intimidating a witness and second-degree rape, according to court records.

His trial has been set for Jan. 8.

When Ryan was originally charged in late July, he was an executive director of financial services at Multop Financial. His attorney, David Allen, could not confirm whether Ryan was still employed at Multop, but the company’s website still lists him as an employee.

Company officials did not return a phone call seeking comment.

A teenage girl came forward in late July to report she was raped by Ryan while babysitting for him and his wife in November 2015, according to court records.

The girl, then 13 years old, told police Ryan made unwanted advances after he came home. She said she froze, then tried to scream, but Ryan overpowered her, covered her mouth and raped her, according to court records.

The girl then told police Ryan drove her home, but warned her as she was getting out of the car that, “If you tell anyone about this you’ll regret it,” according to court records. The girl didn’t babysit for the Ryans again.

Prosecutors amended the charges because of a change in the timeline of events, court records show. During an interview with investigators, the girl and her family were confronted with a check for when the girl babysat that showed a different date.

The girl then drafted a timeline of her life events and told investigators she now believes the incident occurred between spring break April 1, 2016 and Father’s Day, June 19, 2016, court records state. The girl would have been 14 at the time of the alleged offense.

Allen said it was interesting that there was a readjustment to the timeline of events.

“Tyler maintains his innocence and we’re going to forcefully defend his case,” Allen said Thursday. “I hope the public out there maintains the presumption of innocence and people don’t come to a conclusion until the case goes to trial, because it’s going to be very disputed.”

Prosecutors declined to comment on the case.

In late July, former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna was accused of violating attorney ethics for statements McKenna made to KGMI, a local radio station, about the case, according to court records. While prosecutors filed a motion against McKenna in Ryan’s case, no official order has been signed by a judge addressing the accusations.

Allen said that while McKenna isn’t on the criminal case, Ryan is McKenna’s client, so the pair are “working closely together on this,” according to court records.

McKenna, a Republican, was elected attorney general in 2004. Ryan served as McKenna’s campaign adviser. McKenna lost the race for governor against Jay Inslee in 2012 and hasn’t held public office since.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt