UTAH STATE PRISON — The state parole board has set a January 2018 release date for a former Tabiona High School teacher who is serving prison time for having sexual contact with a student.
Shay Alfred Price was sentenced in September 2014 to up to five years in prison for unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old and up to five years in prison for distributing pornography to a person under 18. Judge Samuel Chiara ordered the sentences to run concurrent to each other.
Price, 36, was working as a teacher and coach at Tabiona High in December 2013, when a woman came forward and alleged that she'd had sexual contact with him while she was a teenage student at the school.
Investigators found more than 100 photos of Price's genitals on his cellphone, according to Duchesne County prosecutors. They also found sexually explicit photos of the victim on a cellphone Price owned but no longer used.
During Price's sentencing hearing, the victim acknowledged she sent Price a text message as "a joke" when she was 15 years old, saying another girl found him attractive. The victim said Price then pursued her over the next three years, sending and asking for sexually explicit photos, "rubbing himself against" her in the locker room at school, and eventually engaging in a sex act with her.
The woman said the ongoing "grooming" and abuse led her to drink heavily, engage in self-harm and even threaten suicide.
Price apologized to the woman and her family when it was his turn to speak, but Chiara questioned whether the former educator fully understood the damage he had done.
"You took photographs of your naked body and sent them to a student," the judge said. "I don't know how it got to that point, but those are really poor decisions that you were making at that point. And then you have photographs of her that you retained. That gives me pause."
If he is paroled as planned, Price will have served three years and four months of a possible five-year prison term. As a condition of his early release, Price will have to enter a halfway house immediately after leaving the prison and remain there until he completes sex offender treatment.
That treatment must continue once Price leaves the halfway house, and he must register as a sex offender. Having contact with anyone under age 18, visiting a school or playground, or going to family functions where children will likely be present without prior approval from his parole officer would constitute a violation of his release agreement, according to the parole board.
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