FLORENCE — A San Tan Valley 20-year-old once labeled as a teenage serial rapist by Pinal County investigators was sentenced to three years in prison Friday — but not on any rape charges.
Tyler Kost admitted touching the breasts of three girls without consent and attempting to have sexual contact with two minors, although no sex act was completed.
Kost, who was arrested when he was 18 and has spent nearly three years in Pinal County Jail, pleaded guilty last month as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
Nobody involved in the case, from prosecutors and victims to defense attorneys and Kost’s family, wanted to celebrate the outcome.
Even the judge appeared uneasy with it.
“The plea agreement is ultimately appropriate,” Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White said Friday. “Although neither side is not satisfied with it, and rightfully so.”
White could have sentenced Kost to more than seven years in prison, but instead gave him a minimum of three years each on two counts and allowed the sentences to run concurrently.
With 990 days already served, Kost was eligible for release as early as Friday.
The decision followed a morning of emotionally devastating testimony from some of Kost’s victims, who said he raped them and manipulated them into silence with threats and taunts.
Choking back tears, one woman said she was 14 when Kost sexually abused her. She said Kost told her if she told anyone, she would be known as a "whore" and "slut." She said she considered suicide and was later hospitalized.
“He told me God would never forgive me and my family would never love me,” another woman said, adding that she agreed to keep his secret as long as she could.
Kost’s former girlfriend said she was a freshman when he raped her. In a strong, clear voice she said, “You are one of the most sick, demented, disturbed human beings I have ever met.”
Victims said Kost never apologized, even going so far as to suggest he was set up as part of a conspiracy.
Kost, shackled and wearing a brown prison jumpsuit, stared straight ahead as his former classmates and friends testified. When it was his turn to address the court, he spoke fast and read haltingly from a statement.
“I want to apologize for my actions. ... I made serious mistakes,” he said. “I’m sorry for the pain I caused.”
Kost, now 20, said he wanted to prove that he could be a good citizen and that he was worthy of trust.
The Florence courtroom was evenly split between families of victims and Kost’s supporters, many wearing buttons with his picture.
Kost’s parents made their own plea to the judge, describing his Lutheran upbringing and how “he was raised always putting others before himself.”
James and Angelique Kost said the allegations against their son upended their lives, causing them to be reviled among their friends and neighbors.
“Judge, Tyler’s a good kid,” James Kost said. “We ask that you allow him to come home and let the healing process begin.”
Former neighbors, sitting on opposite sides of the courtroom and separated by their feelings of justice in the case, winced at frequent reminders that only a few years ago they celebrated the same high school victories and attended the same homecoming games in San Tan Valley.
Their quiet suburban lives on the western edge of Pinal County were shattered in 2014 when Kost was accused of sexually assaulting and molesting 11 girls between the ages of 12 and 17.
Girls told investigators Kost started forcing himself on them in 2009 and continued to do so through April 2014, according to court documents.
Former Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu touched on their worst fears in a 2014 news conference in which he called Kost a serial rapist.
Kost was indicted on more than two dozen charges. A state law preventing defendants accused of sex crimes against minors from obtaining bail guaranteed Kost would stay locked up until his case could be heard in court.
Kost pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of child abuse in January.
White said he was forced to balance the mitigating factors of Kost’s age and lack of criminal record with the aggravating factors of what victims suffered.
White also said he took into consideration reports by medical doctors and the county’s probation department indicating Kost posed a low risk to the community.
In addition to the prison term, White ordered Kost to serve 15 years' supervised probation and register as a sex offender. If he violates the terms of his release, he could face up to 50 years in prison.
San Tan Valley man Tyler Kost sentenced to 3 years in serial sex-crimes case Robert Anglen The Republic | azcentral.com Feb. 10, 2017 |
Conair Adams-Whyte (20), from Crocus Street off the Springfield Road, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court yesterday to a single charge of raping the schoolgirl in the bedroom of his home.
Members of the Green Party and DUP, said they were dismayed by the leniency of the sentence handed down by the judge.
DUP South Antrim election candidate Pam Cameron welcomed the prosecution but said it was "very important that the toughest possible sentences are handed out for child rape". "If it was my child, I don't think I'd feel that justice had been done," she said.
Clare Bailey of the Green Party, who worked for sexual abuse counselling service Nexus, said that many people would feel that the sentence needed to be longer.
Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors, such as intent and excessive violence.
Prosecution counsel Jackie Orr QC told the court that on September 29, 2015, police received a report that a 12-year-old girl was pregnant.
The police later met the schoolgirl at her home and she told officers that the father was Conair Adams-Whyte and she showed officers a number of messages she had received from the father on Facebook.
During a later recorded interview, the girl told police that she was supposed to be staying with Adams-Whyte's mother but she failed to pick her up.
She said that sometime later the defendant arrived at her home to collect her by taxi and took to the home he shared with his mother.
"The couple sat and watched television in the living room. She told police she asked him where she was going to be sleeping, the defendant told there was a TV in his bedroom and she was going to sleep in another bedroom afterwards.
"She told police that 'things just started to happen... it wasn't planned to happen but it did'.
She told police the defendant kissed her, took off the bottom part of her clothing and then he took off the bottom part of his clothing and he had sexual intercourse with her.
During the interview, she told police it was "sore" but she said she did not say 'no' or tell him to stop.
Adams-Whyte was arrested on October 1, 2015 and police took a DNA sample from him.
Ms Orr QC said: "He completely denied having sexual intercourse with the complainant and was released on bail."
In April 2016, the baby boy was born and a DNA sample was taken from the child which was a match to the defendant.
He was again arrested and when told that he was the father of the child, the prosecution counsel said Adams-Whyte "was speechless".
Saying the defendant had come from a "difficult family background'' Judge Smyth said that he was currently the subject of a "severe threat from a criminal element".
The court was told that a victim impact report said that the 12-year-old child was not suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
It added that she was receiving support from a "loving mother" and her family along with social services as she copes with bringing up a child now as a 14-year-old.
Adams-Whyte has been assessed as medium likelihood of reoffending, but was not regarded as posing a serious risk of harm to the public.
"You have expressed shame for your offending and you agree that you took advantage of the situation.
"I am taking into account the fact that you're a vulnerable young man with cognitive difficulties. You were exposed to inappropriate influences which may explain your sexualisation as a young child yourself and in my view I find it likely that this contributed to this offending.
"If it were not for that fact I would have imposed a sentence of two years.
"In all the circumstances the appropriate determinate sentence is one of 21 months with 10 and a half months in custody and 10 and a half months on licence."
Adams-Whyte was placed on the sex offenders list for 10 years, barred from working with children and was told by the judge he may be barred from vulnerable people.
He was also made the subject of a five year Sexual Offenders Prevention Order.
Dismay as teen Conair Adams-Whyte who raped girl (12) and made her pregnant is jailed for just 10 months John Cassidy 11/02/2017