High court reinstates sex convictions against former teacher's aide
SALT LAKE CITY — The conviction of a former teacher's aide who was found guilty of seven different counts of sex-related charges involving students has been reinstated by the state's high court.
Just days before Andrea Billingsley, 34, was to be sentenced for three counts of sodomy and one count of rape, first-degree felonies, and three counts of forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony, 3rd District Court Judge Robert Adkins vacated the convictions and ordered a new trial. The judge decided there were some errors at trial, including the omission of evidence about the victims' prior sexual knowledge and experience.
In a ruling written by Associate Chief Justice Ronald Nehring, the Utah Supreme Court found that the exclusion of the victim's history "was proper and the other claimed errors and irregularities do not require reversal because they did not prejudice Ms. Billingsley." The court ordered that Adkins' order granting a new trial be reversed and that her convictions be reinstated.
Justices Christine Durham and Jill Parrish joined in Nehring's decision, while Justice Thomas Lee wrote a separate concurring opinion, in which he was joined by Chief Justice Matthew Durrant.
Billingsley was charged in connection with incidents in 2009 involving one teenager she supervised during in-school suspension, as well as other acts involving the same teen and another in a local park.
Billingsley had been working at West Jordan Middle School, 7550 S. Redwood Road, about 17 hours per week from August 2008 to May 2009. Her position was ultimately eliminated due to budget problems at the school.
Police believe the sexual encounters started in May and continued after the school year was over and into July of 2009.
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