Philly Guitarist Mike Tyler Convicted of Felony Sex Crimes Against a Child
The veteran musician’s credits include performances with LL Cool J and Pearl Jam.
It has been a year and a half since we first told you about accusations that Philadelphia guitarist “Colonel” Mike Tyler had raped a child in South Philadelphia, and now a Philadelphia jury has rendered a verdict in the case.
On Wednesday, the jury found Tyler, 59, guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor and unlawful contact with a minor, both first-degree felonies that can each carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
According to court documents, the incident occurred on August 13, 2017, when Tyler, an old acquaintance of the boy’s father, sexually assaulted the boy inside the boy’s South Philadelphia home. The boy told investigators that he repeatedly asked Tyler to stop.
Tyler was arrested about two weeks after the attack. Bail was set at $150,000, and the judge refused to reduce it on at least two occasions. But after Tyler languished behind bars for several months, the judge eventually granted a reduction in bail and Tyler was released on house arrest.
That didn’t go so well.
First, Tyler went live on Facebook (video below), declaring that he was falsely accused and that he was launching the #WhatAboutUs Movement, the “us” being the falsely accused. In the same video, he claimed that he had been confused with the rapper Mystikal, himself a sex offender with the same birth name as Tyler.
Then, about two months after he was let out on bail, Tyler was thrown back in jail for violating the terms of his house arrest. His lawyer argued that his ankle monitor had malfunctioned, and the judge soon let Tyler go home again.
But his stay at home would be short-lived. The rules of his house arrest apparently did not allow for a visit to smoky South Philly bar 12 Steps Down, where an assistant district attorney noticed Tyler checking in via Facebook last August.
“Mike Tyler was allowed to leave the house to meet with his lawyer,” Philly DA spokesperson Ben Waxman told us at the time. “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 … 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.”
Tyler went back to jail and hasn’t gotten out since, other than to attend his short trial earlier this week.
While Tyler’s legal status is now more certain, his musical history is less defined.
He definitely played guitar for LL Cool J back in the day — look on the right side of the stage:
And he absolutely shared the stage with Pearl Jam in Hershey during an encore, with Eddie Vedder announcing him as “a good friend”:
But then there are parts of his musical bio — the parts that include acts like the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and Prince — that could not be confirmed and that have raised eyebrows with some of the people who’ve known Tyler in Philly over the years.
Whoever he played music with back in the 1980s and 1990s, he more recently could be seen in local Philly bars playing with his band, Touched By an Uncle. (We know.)
“Mike was definitely a weird guy,” says one person who knew him from the Philly scene. “And I’m not saying he was a good guy, but this stuff is really hard to believe.”
Sentencing is scheduled for May 28th.