Mike Tyler, a popular Philly guitarist who has reportedly played with everyone from Prince and Mariah Carey to Pearl Jam and Billy Joel, was supposed to go to trial on Monday on charges that he sexually assaulted a child last year. Instead, the case has been continued and Tyler is back in jail.
He reportedly posted selfies from the popular South Philly bar 12 Steps Down when he was supposed to be home on house arrest, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
“I guess the judge thought it was stupid for him to do that,” says Tyler’s attorney, S. Philip Steinberg. “Obviously, Mike has to comply with the law.”
Tyler was originally arrested in August 2017, after a 14-year-old South Philly boy told Special Victims Unit detectives that Tyler had sexually assaulted him in the boy’s home.
He spent nearly eight months in jail before a judge granted him house arrest. Then in June, Tyler was taken back into custody for allegedly violating the terms of his house arrest. His lawyer argued that his ankle bracelet had malfunctioned, and the judge put Tyler back on house arrest.
But then last week, assistant district attorney Ian Oakley filed a motion to revoke Tyler’s house arrest again. Oakley said he saw Tyler checking into 12 Steps Down on Facebook. He also said Tyler posted photos of himself there.
“Mike Tyler was allowed to leave the house to meet with his lawyer,” says Ben Waxman, spokesperson for Philly DA Larry Krasner. “But after he left his lawyer, he went to 12 Steps Down instead of home. But our ADA, a member of our Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, saw his posts. He realized that he was in violation of house arrest. That’s some crack law enforcement work right there.”
Tyler was called into court on Monday morning for a hearing in front of the judge on the motion. The judge once again revoked his house arrest, and Tyler is back in custody.
“If you’re trying to avoid going back to jail, you probably shouldn’t post selfies of yourself at a bar while you’re on house arrest,” Waxman added, with a chuckle.
In April, Tyler took to Facebook — apparently his favorite social media platform — with a Facebook live video in which he proclaimed his innocence. He claimed he was “wrongfully accused.”
“Thank you for everybody that hung in there with me … that didn’t fall for it,” he said in the video. “I’m starting a movement called #WhatAboutUs … In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I can go to a police district, simply having your name and address and say that [this guy] tried to kill me. And if you catch the right time and day you can get an arrest warrant.”
Tyler is a veteran of the Philadelphia music scene and has played in countless bands over the years — one of his more recent projects being the unfortunately named Touched by an Uncle. He’s had some brushes with fame, as noted above in his credits list. Once, in Hershey, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder called Tyler out on stage to play a song with the band. “Let’s have a big hand for Mike Tyler,” said Vedder, describing him as a “good friend.”
Tyler’s trial has been moved to January 2019, and he’s facing charges of rape, unlawful contact with a minor, and sexual assault, among other alleged offenses.