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Ex-Riverton High teacher gets probation, fines in sex abuse case

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  • Speaking_Out SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 12, 2014 10:00 p.m.

    UNBELIEVABLE! I'm a news hound so I don't miss much. In the last 10 years the majority of cases where the sexual predator was a reasonably attractive female under the age of 40, they've either plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor or, as in the current case, gotten no more than a slap on the wrist. I'm hard pressed to remember a case where a male predator received anything less than prison. Why the double-standard? Are male judges too timid to treat female sex offenders the same way they treat men? Could it be that in today's society, the feminist movement has more clout than our judicial system? I'm sick to death of the double-standard in this country. Women are always demanding that they be treated equally. When is our judicial system going to start giving them what they want and deserve?

  • K Mchenry, IL
    April 12, 2014 5:09 p.m.

    If I the student is of legal age to consent, and she was of legal age in the state of Utah, like it or not since the teacher was not more than 7 years older per statue, than this was not a crime. The school may have a policy on a teacher not entering into such a relationship, even if the ages don't make it illegal or even if the teacher wasn't assigned to that particular student. But this was not a sex crime as the statue reads. Terms for firing, sure. What people might want to do is as the legislature to change the age of consent for both men and women in the state to 18.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    April 10, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Understand, I am fine with this decision. The losing of ones ability to teach when that is what you have given your life over to, is no small thing. I also don't think that this teacher, serving jail time, would really serve any purpose. I can see a twenty-three year old, falling hard for a younger person, especially if this particular coach is an entitled and immature (albeit "good") person. Still, let us be perfectly frank. If this were a male teacher, in most cases--he would be tarred and feathered and run out of town, if not shot by the young persons father. Kids deserve to discover love, romance on their own terms and not through the prism of a needy teacher or coach. Never forget--when you teach or coach, you sign on to rise above these situations. Kids love people in authority who show interest in them. Teaching is not your ticket to "return to my youth" land.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    April 9, 2014 9:19 p.m.

    @LittleStream:
    "As long as these offenders are treated with kid gloves they will continue the crime."

    They're not offenders. They're friends. And what they did is not a crime. It's called human interaction.

  • Gary Federal Way, WA
    April 9, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    Does everyone realize it was a lesbian type of relationship? And that the law is different at age for the girls versus the boys. I think the sentence was appropriate. Labeling the teacher a sex offender would harm her the rest of her life needlessly. It is no laughing matter to be labeled an "SO" as there is practically no life for one labeled as such for the rest of their life. It's worst than jail time. The judge made the right decision doing the best he could under the circumstances. Had it been a female teacher towards a student boy, the results would likely be much different and there would be jail time and labeling of "SO. In my opinion, with the student wanting it in the first place and minimizing that she wasn't 18 yet, they figured it'd be okay. Such things would be better not happening in the school environment. None of us are perfect and we have all made dumb mistakes. The important thing is to learn and grow from it. That's what counts and that's what the teacher is getting. A second chance. We all deserve second chances.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    My opinion is not to vote to sustain this judge in November.

  • El Chango Supremo Rexburg, ID
    April 9, 2014 12:40 p.m.

    justinbl,

    I agree with you. 23 is too young to be working w/ high school kids. she's practically a kid herself.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 9, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    I think this probably sounds about right. If a 17 year old can be charged as an adult in a murder case, than a 17 year old can consent for sex. It is hard for me to hear the word "victim" in this case as the 17 year old young women knew what she was doing. I would be curious to find out if the two are still together as a couple or if they have moved on from one another. Does anyone know?

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    April 9, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    Under 18 can't legally give consent? That's not really "equal treatment under the law"! How fair is that? Where is the pro gay marriage crowd on this issue?

  • Paddycakes South Jordan, UT
    April 9, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    If this had been a male, he would be in prison.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    April 9, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    I hate seeing such a beautiful girl on the outside, do such an ugly thing.

  • justinbl Portland, OR
    April 9, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    I'll probably catch flack for this statement, but I think when you have somebody who is basically still a kid teaching high school, you are setting yourself up for trouble.

  • brotherJonathan SLC, UT
    April 9, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    To be impartial in dealing out justice, is the law of the land. Whether male or female is homosexual violations of sexual misconduct different than heterosexual misconduct? If this had been a male or female teacher having heterosexual misconduct with minor different than same-sex with a minor? And is justice applied differently for each variation (being male or female) of same type offense? Only review of sentencing can show what is applied justice in reality.
    To ensure equality under all laws: review of sentencing by Utah judges must be scrutinized closely. Otherwise personal bias, friendships, associations, money, use of power violates our most precious rights under law: We must be equally treated, full impartiality by those under oath of office.
    Our constitution demands citizen's share Equality Under All Laws, period.
    Demand our judges rule with fairness.
    Reporters (the press) get the answers for the people and share that information, please we need the press to help inform the people of our true status quo operations.
    The poor go to jail more than the rich for the same violations of law.
    Male citizens go to jail more often for the same violations of sexual misconduct laws.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    April 9, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Ridiculous "sentence". If she were a man she would be doing hardtime and then spending the rest of her life on the sex offender registry.

    She had the advantage of belonging to two politically correct groups of "victims", one she is a female and two she is a lesbian so she was given this ridiculous sentence because of those two things.

    I'd love to ask this judge, and the prosecutor as well, why a female homosexual pedophile is more or less given no sentence yet a man in the exact same situation would be doing hard time?

    Her weak little claim that she has already been punished because she lost her teaching certificate is an insult to justice and to the intelligence of the rest of us.

    In our country there are two types of "justice", one for males which is harsh and deserved, and one for females which is basically no punishment at all.

    What an outrage.

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    April 9, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    This makes me so sad. For all of the commenters who said there really isn't a victim - yes there was. For all the commenters who said she got off lighter than a man - you are wrong. Our court system most often lets the person who committed the "crime" off with probation. My ex-husband molested my daughter for 7 years, threatened if she told I would hate her, and send her away. And he got probation, my daughter didn't beg the judge to not put him in prison. He didn't lose his job. My daughter and I were in years of counseling because of that betrayal of trust. As long as these offenders are treated with kid gloves they will continue the crime. How very sad for the children in our world. Jesus must be heart broken and in tears each time he sees a child hurt like this! And we call ourselves judges. We keep feeling sorry for the wrong person in these crimes.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    April 9, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    Frankly, had she been ugly or less attractive the judge would have locked this woman up for a long time. She blatantly disregarded court orders and continued to contact her female victim because she believed she had the right to do so. Her blatant disrespect for the rule of law should have elevated the penalties and had her serving time.

    The age isn't the main concern I have with the case. She manipulated her student. She crossed the line and should be a felon and registered sex offender.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    April 9, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    The law says a girl can consent at 16 or 17 if the other person is no more than 7 years older. It's not opinion that the ages are appropriate 17-23. If the other person was a boy the teacher would be legally in trouble because boys can't consent until 18 in Utah. I'm not sure why this was in the hands of authorities in the first place. School administrative matter makes more sense.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 9, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    Clearly, if the sexes of the parties involved were different, there would be a hue and cry to lock the teacher up forever and register him as a dangerous sex-offender. Of greater concern is the issue of ability to consent. We seem to also be of two minds on this matter as well. When it comes to anything sexual, we are adamant that anyone under eighteen is pure and innocent, and couldn't possibly consent to a relationship -- unless, of course, the other person is their own age, in which case their judgment becomes rational and mature. For non-sexual matters, however, we have no problem at all taking fourteen and fifteen year olds into adult court and treating them as if they were mature adults when they commit crimes. As a paralegal, I was involved with cases where the prosecutor wanted to charge twelve year olds as adults. Let's make up our collective minds -- either minors are competent or they are not. Trying to have it both ways makes us look foolish.

  • Icarus Dallas, Texas
    April 9, 2014 6:27 a.m.

    Does Utah have judge retention elections? This guy would be on my list. And the Utah Supreme Court would be too with a ruling that a teacher has to have a "position of special trust". What about the fact that the student may be in that person's class next semester or year? Or the teacher has hall duty? Or can influence the student's current teacher(s) in the faculty lounge? There's a million ways a teacher in a school can coerce students, even if there is no "position of special trust".

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    April 9, 2014 5:58 a.m.

    This decision is very wrong. This teacher is not being punished, her position was used to lure this girl and have free access to her classroom AND initiated the first contact with the note expressing her "feelings".

    It wasn't too long ago a LDS seminary teacher had the same type of consensual relationship, not only was he demonized in the press, the law, compared to this case, was unmerciful to him and said boldly he needed to be an example.

    Why the double standard?

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:30 p.m.

    17-23 is a big difference in maturity. 43-49, less so.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    April 8, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    In utah the age of consent is not 18. In several states it's not 18. Since the teacher was not many years older than the student this is perfectly legal. 17 to 23 is not that many years different.

    She wasn't the students teacher or coach. I don't believe she should be teaching or coaching but there was not direct authority over the student.

    It does bother me than female teachers get away with it. But in this case the ages don't make it a problem and the direct teacher student/athlete relationship wasn't there.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 8, 2014 10:17 p.m.

    Re Midvale Guy

    You are talking legal, I am talking reality. Anyway if people under 18 are so immature that they can't give consent, then we ought to always try them in the Juvenile court for what ever they do.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    April 8, 2014 9:52 p.m.

    Utah loves their suspended jail sentences.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:22 p.m.

    The Utah Supreme Court is flat-out wrong. A person under 18 years old is, by legal definition and by biology not fully capable of adult decisions.

    "Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don't reach full maturity until the age 25." See NPR: Brain Maturity Extends Well Beyond Teen Years

    What parts are under-developed in 17-18 year olds? The parts required to make good judgements and controlling impulses.

    What parts are over-active? The parts seeking rewards, thrills, subject to peer-pressure (so if the perp wasn't in place of special influence, she was a peer?).

    If this would've been a man, he'd be in jail. If it would have been a black man smoking a joint on a corner, he'd be serving 10 years, but a woman screwing a student, hey, be our guest (of our courts, but not our jails of course.)

    Our courts and judges are screwed up.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    Don't be surprised next time it happens, and the time after that, and after that........and so on. Our Judges own it.

  • Archibald SLC, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:50 p.m.

    The double standard of sentencing for men vs women is pathetic.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    It doesn't sound like the victim feels victimized. The only one who seems to be a victim is the prosecuting attorney.

  • midvale guy MIDVALE, UT
    April 8, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    This sentence is utterly ridiculous. @cjb, I don't know how you can possibly think there was no victim in this. If someone is under 18 years of age they cannot give their consent legally. This automatically makes them a victim in this case. The other problem is everyone at that school had a chance of being a victim. We trust teachers to be around our children and youth and behave as adults. She should definitely have to register as a sex offender and never be allowed to teach school or be in a position to offend again as part of any organization. And she definitely would've done jail time if she were a male. Anyone who votes for this judge next time his name comes up on the ballot should think twice.

  • YOGI46 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 8, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    Yes, if and when the parents found out they should go to the authorities. Abuse is abuse and even though it was reported a year later or when ever it needs to be reported and dealt with. It's not only about the abused..it is also to make sure the abuser gets the help he/she needs. This is a very unfortunate event to begin with and should never happen.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 8, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    Probably appropriate since there was no true victim.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 8, 2014 2:45 p.m.

    18 months propation,
    100 hours community service,
    and a $900 fine?

    Perhaps male teachers found guilty of sex with a student should try crying at their trials...

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    April 8, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    Not that I agree with everything here, whats wrong is wrong and should be handled the same. But I think what they are looking at here is the age of those involved. I know the supposed victim was 17 when they met, but the relationship carried into her being 18 which makes it all fine and well but she was still a student. I can think only that that is the reason for the slap rather actually going to jail for three years. She was sentenced to three years, but the judge suspended the jail time. Above anything, if this was simply pressure or falling into the wrong hands at the wrong time. I hope the supposed victim can go on with life as a normal adult. Also, the reason I say supposed is because it wasn't forced, it was a consentual relationship between the two. If you read the early articles, it was the parents who made her go to authorities when they found out. Sounds to me more like the pride of a parent was hurt.

  • Something to think about Ogden, UT
    April 8, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    I would love to see the statistics on how female are sentences verses males.

    It often seems as though females get off easy when it comes to these situations.

  • SoUtahFriend Saint George, Utah
    April 8, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    We had an athletic trainer who did this with a young male. She's now serving 15 years at the point of the mountain. Odd to see this TEACHER on the street with only a slap on the hand

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    April 8, 2014 1:30 p.m.

    Had this been a man he would have served jail time. Maybe I'm wrong, but it sure seems like the female teachers get a slap on the wrist instead of the full justice they deserve and their male counterparts get.