Man who killed convicted Griffin aide charged with sex abuse of child

By Aaron Besecker
Buffalo News
January 20, 2020

Richard Tyes, 39, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2002, has been charged with felony sexual abuse of a minor.

Robert Tatu.

A man who went to prison for killing a convicted child molester almost 20 years ago has been charged with sexually abusing a child, according to Buffalo police and court records.

Richard Tyes, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2001 homicide of Robert J. Tatu, an aide to former Mayor James D. Griffin, has been accused of first-degree sexual abuse of a child younger than 13, according to the records.

Tyes, 39, of Grider Street, also was charged by Buffalo police with child endangerment for a Jan. 4 incident. He was being held on a parole violation before being charged Thursday. He pleaded not guilty to the new felony and misdemeanor charges Friday before Buffalo City Court Judge Kevin J. Keane and was being held at the Erie County Correctional Facility.

Tatu, 42, a former Cub Scout volunteer and Griffin aide, was found shot to death on May 22, 2001, on a staircase leading to his Elmwood Avenue apartment. He had been shot in the eye and chest.

At the time of the killing, police said they found evidence of a sexual relationship between Tatu and Tyes, who was charged with murder.

Tyes pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May 2002, and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. He was paroled in May 2017 from Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Tyes was 22 when he was sentenced in State Supreme Court for Tatu's killing.

Tatu worked for the former mayor from 1982 to 1986. He served four months in jail after being pleading guilty in 1990 to sodomizing a 14- and a 16-year-old boy in separate incidents in 1988 and 1989.

Tatu also was a former Cub Scout pack volunteer and Buffalo Police Athletic League president. After his arrest in 1989, he was added to the Boy Scouts of America's "Perversion Files," otherwise known as the "Ineligible Volunteer Files." The documents, released following a court order in 2012, contained information about allegations of molestation or morals crimes involving children.

In November 2001, six months after his death, The Buffalo News published a story about Tatu that revealed publicly for the first time that he alleged he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in South Buffalo when he was 11 years old. Tatu had previously told his story to The News in 1994, but was only identified in that story by his middle name.

Tyes is scheduled to have a felony hearing in City Court on Wednesday.


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