Linda Nef Goes to Prison
Posted by shadmia on July 22, 2009
Judge Rodney Page sent 46-year-old Linda Nef to prison for three years to life, for first-degree felony attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child. Nef was originally charged with first-degree felony counts of rape of a child and sodomy on a child, which carry mandatory prison terms of 25 years to life.
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Before her sentencing, Linda Nef apologized for her actions:
“I am so sorry for the pain you have been through … as a result of my completely selfish actions,” 46-year-old Linda Nef told the boy, who was 13 years old at the time.
A tearful Nef, 46, not only apologized to her victim and his family but also to “educators everywhere who have been damaged by my actions,” especially the faculty at Bountiful Junior High, whom she characterized as honorable and hard-working people.
“I loved teaching with all my heart — and yet I committed a crime,” she said.
Nef pleaded guilty in June to a reduced charge of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, as part of a plea bargain in the hopes of avoiding a prison sentence. Possible sentencing ranged from probation to three years to life. In fact both her lawyer and the boy’s lawyer urged judge to give her the minimum sentence of probation.
Sean Druyon, Nef’s attorney, said mental-health and psychosexual examinations of Nef showed that she poses very little risk to the community or to re-offend, and that she is not a pedophile. He also said Nef came to him to confess, and they approached the police — and Nef has cooperated fully since then. Druyon said all professional reports show Nef could be helped with counseling and treatment.
Druyon said Nef admitted what she had done because it was the right thing to do and was a good candidate for probation for many reasons. Among them is the fact that she has exceptional family support from her husband and extended family. When he asked Nef’s family to stand, three rows of people in the courtroom rose to their feet.
Gregory Skordas, the lawyer representing the boy and his family, said they appreciated Nef’s confession, and they did not seek a prison sentence. However, Skordas emphatically denied the boy was in any way responsible for what happened. There is no “balance of culpability” when an adult in a position of authority engages in sex with a 13-year-old, he said.
In lengthy remarks before he imposed the sentence, Page said he wished the responsibility to sentence her rested with someone else.
“I haven’t slept well in thinking about this case and knowing that from the date the defendant entered her plea, it would be my responsibility to impose sentence,” Page said.
While he said it was commendable that Nef came forward and confessed her wrongdoing with the boy, he said there were hundreds if not thousands of victims besides this particular boy who have been hurt by her actions.
“The greater victim in this might be our society as a whole,” Page said. “This undermines our faith, beliefs and confidence in institutions that create the foundation of freedoms by which we live — and that is our schools.”
“In our society, we esteem our teachers to be among the most honorable people, although sometimes we wouldn’t think that by the way we try to pay them and other things. We entrust them with the most important commodity we have in our society and that is our children,” Page said.
Page said he had no doubt Nef was a good teacher and was genuinely repentant for what she has done, but the judge sensed Nef also was motivated by the “a concern this was going to come out anyway” once Nef got word about an alleged sexual relationship between another teacher and the same boy.
The other teacher involved with the same boy, Valynne Bowers, 40, is charged with rape and forcible sodomy — first-degree felonies — in connection with sexual activity with the boy when he was 14. Plea negotiations for Bowers have fallen through and a preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 28 before 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin.