Rapist Teachers Worried about Child Victim
Posted by shadmia on March 13, 2009
Two teachers – Linda Richins Nef, 46, and Valynne Asay Bowers, 39 – at Bountiful Jr High School in Utah face first-degree felony charges of rape and sodomy on a child. They are both accused of having sex with a student of the same school, beginning when he was 13 years old. Both teachers have hired lawyers and both are expected to undergo psychological evaluations.
It was Linda Nef who came forward – after learning of Bowers involvement with the youth – to report her behavior to the police. According to her lawyer, Sean Druyon, Nef is sorry for what she’s done. Druyon is also recommending that the boy, who has emotional problems, receive counseling.
“She wants to come clean. That’s paramount,” he said. “But she’s also concerned about the boy and his safety. We expect that he’s going to need therapy. He’s going to need counseling for this and other issues in his life. She wants to take responsibility and pay whatever the court finds appropriate. She’s embarrassed her family, her children; she’s embarrassed her school, and she feels terrible.”
Nef began her relationship with the boy in Nov. 2007 and it continued through July 2008 (earlier reports said Dec. 2008). Her lawyer said Nef had wanted to come forward much sooner but was reluctant to do so because the boy had threatened to harm himself. “When she came in to see me, she wasn’t sure if she could protect the child and confess,” Sean Druyon said.
According Nef, the relationship with the boy started after he had left her class. “Nothing inappropriate happened” while he was her student. After leaving her class the boy continued to seek her out and she began helping him with some “emotional issues” he was going through. There were after-hours phone calls, visits between classes, meetings after hours and text messages. It grew erotic and led to sex.
“Her role went from former schoolteacher trying to help him, and one thing led to another”
Nef says she wanted to end the relationship sooner but was concerned about the boy’s emotional state. It wasn’t until after the relationship was finally over that Nef learned about the other teacher, Valynne Bowers. That was when she decided to contact her lawyer and go to the police.
Valynne Bowers’ attorney, Rich Gallegos, said he will ask for a psycho-sexual evaluation for his client but said she was not a predator.
“I think there’s some psychological issues,” he said. “The kid is clearly a victim, but I think these ladies were somewhat vulnerable. When I talked to her, she had a lot of remorse and felt for the victim in the case,” he said. “Realizing that she’s the adult and she’s taking responsibility for her actions, but all of her concerns are for the kid.”
The boy is still with his parents but state child welfare workers are also involved with the case.
“We want to get all the information,” said Sean Druyon. “When you look at this at first blush, here’s a 40-something-year-old woman, here’s a 13-year-old, almost 14-year-old boy, ‘What was she thinking? She must be a pedophile.’ That’s not always the case.”
In an e-mail sent to parents, the school said it was “a very difficult situation that we are working as a faculty, staff and student body to get through.” Counselors were made available to students to help them get through the shock of the scandal.
“We are in the healing process and hope to learn and improve from those mistakes that were made,” the e-mail said, expressing thanks for phone calls of support and sending out a plea for questions and concerns to administrators.
Nevertheless, the Davis School District has no plans to change its policies and ban text messaging between teachers and students. But Carol Lear at the State Office of Education has said maybe these policies should be looked at again.
“There is something more intimate about texting than there is about phone calls and certainly than e-mail,” she said. “It likely is not appropriate for teachers and students to text each other, especially on a regular basis,” she added.
Authorities say other cases of teacher misconduct may have started with personal phone calls, texts and e-mails.
“These younger people that I’m talking to who are student teaching or about to student teach, are saying ‘I would never want a student to text me. First of all, I wouldn’t want them to know my phone number. I also just think that’s something you reserve; it’s very casual. You reserve it for a close friend,'” Lear said.
There isn’t a rule that specifically bans a teacher from texting a student, but the Utah State Office of Education has rules on teacher/student interactions.
The rules include:
- Teachers shall not make inappropriate contact in any communication-written, verbal, or electronic-with minor, student, or colleague, regardless of age or location.
- Teachers shall not solicit, encourage or consummate an inappropriate relationship, written, verbal, or physical, with a student or minor.
- Teachers shall not participate in sexual, physical, or emotional harassment or any combination toward any public school-age student or colleague, nor knowingly allow harassment toward students or colleagues.
- Teachers shall not accept or give gifts to students that would suggest or further an inappropriate relationship.