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Riverton High teacher charged with rape, sex abuse of student

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  • KG South Jordan, UT
    April 22, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    It will be interesting to see what the facts are in this case. Was the sex consensual? Did the victim report it, or did the parents find out and they reported it? Either way, the relationship of trust between the coach/teacher and the student should not be breached. But this teacher's career is over, even if the charges aren't substantiated or are blown out of proportion. If it was consensual, in many ways the victim is less of a victim than the alleged rapist.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    April 22, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    While I never would condone this behavior, I think we may need to look at and revise the statutes and laws concerning 16-17 year olds having sex. A couple of weeks ago, two 17 year old boys were charged as adults for murder. So society says we can charge them with murder, but they are not old enough to decide on sexual matters? Either 16-17 year olds are mature enough to make decisions on murder and sex, or they are not. I know this is an uncomfortable notion, but I think it may be time to start this discussion.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    Just plain sad, hope the 17 year old can cope with all of this.

  • KG South Jordan, UT
    April 22, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    So many inconsistencies in the messages we send to our youth... schools provide contraceptives to students, saying they are old enough to consent to sex. But, if the other person is a few years older, they can't. Again, we don't know the facts here, but I doubt force was involved.

  • JP Chandler, AZ
    April 22, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    Forget "a few years older", it's a felony if the other person is a few months older if they happen to be the wrong months. I'm all for abstinence before marriage, but locking up an 18 year old for having consensual sex with a 17 year old is morally wrong. We need to overhaul our laws.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    April 22, 2013 4:26 p.m.

    I find it interesting that most here are close to excusing the behavior. Some of the things I agree with such as the age 18 being the age of consent. But I am quite sure if this was an older man doing with with a younger student, girl or boy, it would be an open and shut case in most peoples minds. We have a tendency to excuse the behavior if it is an older woman. We don't see it as sick, or pedophilia if a woman does it. A man does it, and it is seen as sick and perverted. Just an observation.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    April 22, 2013 4:29 p.m.

    Regardless of the facts in this particular case, there is no shortage of nuttiness in our sex crime laws.

    For example, is a 19 year old who was prosecuted for having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend as much of a danger to our kids as a pedophile who preys on little children? According to the police website used to find sex offenders in our area they must be because I can’t find out which is which.

  • skibird Spanish Fork, UT
    April 22, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    I think a lot of those responding prior to my response are missing the bigger picture here. Forget the ages and gender of the suspect and victim and just see the fact that it's a high school teacher and her student. Some lines just aren't meant to be crossed.

  • KG South Jordan, UT
    April 22, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    @ Brahma

    I don't mean to sound like I am excusing it. The relationship between teacher and student is a relationship of confidence and authority. If the allegations are true, she should be punished. But, the age of majority is an arbitrary age... 18. That's fine. But, when minors can be charged with murder, or other crimes, as an adult, then there ought to be some flexibility in the age of consent of victims. I don't have any idea of the victim in this case consented. But to call sex "forcible" or "rape" one month and "consensual sex between adults" the next month is ridiculous. To me, it has nothing to do with gender.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    April 22, 2013 5:12 p.m.

    Something to keep in mind is that a teacher is serving in a role of authority and there are certain lines that they should not cross. Students should not even be considered for romantic partners, regardless of their age.

    Parents should not have to worry when they send their children to school, that any teacher will be making sexual or romantic advances on them. As to the argument that it could have been the student making the advancements, the teacher is still required to keep a professional distance. The teacher is the adult and is responsible to act like one. Period.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    April 22, 2013 5:38 p.m.

    Actually, in the State of Utah, a 16 or 17 year old individual can consent to sex with an adult who is no more than 10 years older than the youth.

    The main issue in this case is the power differential between a teacher and a student - not the age differential.

    Whether or not that power differential was used to coerce the youth into the sexual relationship will be up to the court to decide.

  • earthquakejake Logan, UT
    April 22, 2013 7:09 p.m.

    A few days ago, I was at Walmart with a friend. We were waiting in line next to 3 girls. We started chatting, cracking jokes and basically just making the wait not seem so long. They mentioned how far they had to walk to get to Walmart because they didn't have a car. My friend told them that we can take them home. They said "Yes!" with a relief that they don't have to walk the long trip home. I then asked them how old they were. One was 19 and the other two were 17 who turn 18 in a few months. I said "Nope, sorry, can't take you home."

  • Utah Dem Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2013 7:15 p.m.

    KG - what schools in Utah provide contraceptives?

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 22, 2013 8:33 p.m.

    There is no indication from the article that anything was consensual. Things like "forcible" don't spell consent, regardless of age.

  • Time For A Tea Party Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2013 10:26 p.m.

    Obama10: Each law takes into account different variables and points of view. In this case the law protects the potential victim (the minor)from being thrust, manipulated, or coaxed into an adult situation that society has deemed undesirable (unacceptable). In the case of murder, the law protects society from the perceived likelihood that the youth will repeat the offense. The youth in case of murder, or other serious crimes, poses a legitimate threat.

  • Californian#1@94131 San Francisco, CA
    April 22, 2013 10:44 p.m.

    The people who are comparing this case with cases of adult murder charges against a 16 or 17 year old are missing the point.

    This incident in Riverton is not about teenagers having sex, which is enough of a problem on its own.

    If the accusations are true, this case is about a teacher taking advantage of a student; an adult contributing to the delinquency of a minor; a person misusing a position of trust and responsibility given to her by the state and the student's parents.

  • Rockarolla West Jordan, UT
    April 22, 2013 10:55 p.m.

    This happens entirely too much. There should be mandatory jail time for any teacher having sex with a student...no matter what the age of the student. The teacher has a position of authority and should know better.

  • Terry Sandy, UT
    April 23, 2013 12:35 a.m.

    Did I misread the article, seems to go out of its way to say this was a student of the school, not a student of that coach/teacher. If that is the case and no true position of authority took place like with a teacher/student and assuming this was done by two willing people outside the school grounds, seems like the worst they should charge is statuatory rape? Why does the state of Utah treat these cases like they are worse than armed robbery? This is already legal for 16-17 year olds to consent to in many states, so it seems a bit excessive to me. Does not seem like we should lock up this 22 year old girl for 1/2 her life and treat her like a hardened criminal over something like this unless the facts turn out to be way worse than I am assuming from reading between the lines. Drug dealers are already being let out early due to overcrowding! Now if with a direct student she should get a harder sentence, but still something far lower than what it sounds like they are charging her with.

  • KG South Jordan, UT
    April 23, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    @ Utah Dem

    I have no idea what schools in Utah, if any, provide contraception. My statements aren't limited to Utah. The problems I point out are nationwide. However, regardless of whether contraception is doled out in Utah really doesn't matter. We teach our teenagers about sex, contraception, and they can get the contraception on their own. Each school seems to teach SexEd differently, and each teacher within the school differently still.

    And I am not criminal law expert, but I think the "forcible" part of the charge, the way the law reads, does not necessarily mean the sex wasn't consensual. Because of the position of authority, the "forcible" is somewhat implied because the minor may not feel like he or she can say no.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    Anyone want to bet that this woman will get off with nothing more than probation? Certainly she will get a far lighter sentance than a man in a similar situation.

  • JustAnObservation Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    Please remember that this "allegedly" happened. Funny how some of the people here already find her guilty as if they are the jury. I guess she's guilty until proven innocent? I'm not saying it happened or didn't happen. She's not a bad person until they prove she is bad.

  • dianeect north salt lake, UT
    April 23, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    Given the charges, I do not think this was consensual. The law reads

    1) A person commits object rape of a child when the person causes the penetration or touching, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of a child who is under the age of 14 by any foreign object, substance, instrument, or device, not including a part of the human body, with intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to the child or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

    (2) Object rape of a child is a first degree felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of:

    (a) except as provided in Subsection (2)(b) not less than 25 years and which may be for life; or

    (b) life without parole, if the trier of fact finds that:

    (i) during the course of the commission of the object rape of a child the defendant caused serious bodily injury to another; or

    (ii) at the time of the commission of the object rape of a child the defendant was previously convicted of a grievous sexual offense.

    (3) Imprisonment under this section is mandatory in accordance with Section 76-3-406.

  • EurekaRes Eureka, UT
    April 23, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    This is such a unprofessional move by this teacher. I agree with DuckHunter in regards to punishment based on gender. It is unfortunate that when a woman gets in trouble with a young individual it seems almost "cute" to many in a manner. There is a situation in town where a 20 year old girl who has graduated is dating a 16 year old boy at the school. For some reason that seems justified by some. Any individual who is messing around with younger school aged individuals should be punished by the law. It isn't right to turn a blind eye to a situation, whether it is an older woman or older man.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    April 23, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    Age isn't the relevant factor in whether this allegation could be brought up as charges. Even if the student had been 21 and was enrolled in the High School where she worked (think Special Education) it would still be illegal. No teacher/administrator/adult working at school should ever cross that professional line. However the line continues to be broken.

    I would not be surprised if every single case reported of teacher misconduct had a similar pattern where the educator gradually made small unprofessional choices regarding student interactions before making the larger ones. These behaviors should be easy to identify and used to decrease the abuse of some educators.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 23, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    There have been enough women teachers/coaches/aides that have gone to court and to prison for these type of actions, just in Utah. It is an issue of power and trust, whether direct or not, just because they are a teacher, aide or coach no matter which gender. I would picture that every new teacher during orientation and even in their college studies as a student teacher would know the potential consequences for non-compliance with this type of issue. Even students have seen similar situations where their fellow students are trying to get a boost in a grade through a special favor. 17 or 22 years of age isn't much separation by age but it is the law and that is where this teacher appears to gone over that boundary in her position.

    It is sad but why was a teacher inviting this girl over to her house in the first place without a group of other teachers or students there as witnesses?

    There is definitely a lot of precedence on this type of occurrence.

    A complaint by a person, student or teacher, should probably have been filed as actions at school were most likely occurring.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    April 23, 2013 2:42 p.m.

    Does anyone have statistics on how frequently this happens in Utah vs. nationally? It may be because I only read Utah newspapers, but this illegal teacher/student thing seems to happen far too often in Utah. Offhand I can think of the Lone Peak seminary teacher, the 62-yr-old Layton High choir teacher who married an 18-yr-old student, the two female teachers in Bountiful with the one 14-year-old male student, the Kaysville teacher this past December, the Roosevelt teacher, the Liahona teacher, the St. George high school teacher...the list really could go on and on.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 23, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    Seems like a double standard here. It's like a thief judging someone for stealing.

  • No name Provo, UT
    April 23, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    Utah is abstinence only. Health teachers can talk about basic male and female anatomy and diseases, but we cannot discuss contraception at all. We are legally bound. Teens usually find out sexual information from their peers, and unfortunately that information is not always reliable. Parents think everything that their teen needs to know is covered at school, but that is not true. Parents need to talk with their teens instead of sweeping it under the rug or assuming the sex topic will be covered at school. As far as the teacher is concerned, she is in a position of trust. Proper ethics is drilled into us as we prepare to become educators. She knows that what she was doing was inappropriate. However, I do agree that our laws can be over the top, especially when a 18 an year old gets put on the sex offenders list for having a sexual relationship with their 17 year old BF or GF. Turning 18 does not make a student suddenly mature in an instant. Regardless of what the law says, they are still kids in that their brains and emotional capacities are still developing.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    April 23, 2013 11:33 p.m.

    I believe the teacher is innocent.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    No one comments on the elephant in the room. Both the teacher and student are the same gender, as I read the story. To me this is an issue of a person with same gender attraction seeking a position of authority over minors, the sophomore girl's basketball team, to identify and groom potential partner/victims. It may be the teacher was recruited/exposed/seduced into this behavior in the same way that she is/was trying to recruit/expose/seduce others young women.

  • Hurteau Auburn, MA
    April 24, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    I say let the charges be read into evidence without mentioning gender and see how it plays out, otherwise this is just another way to show women are not responsible for their actions.

    If this was a male teacher, the rage and demand for punishment would be deafening.

  • roberto Moses Lake, WA
    April 25, 2013 8:49 p.m.

    Double standard... As has been mentioned in previous posts, if the teacher had been a man, he would have been hung out to dry. (and would have deserved it) She is no different. Just as wrong. And making excuses doesn't make it any less wrong.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    April 25, 2013 11:19 p.m.

    If the man is a political leader,--nothing would happen. I could list a few examples.