SHADMIA'S WORLD

Just Another Guy with Opinions

Valynne Bowers Sentenced for Child Abuse

Posted by shadmia on April 5, 2011

Valynne Bowers, 41, had her day in court on April 4, 2011. She stood in front of Judge John Morris. She had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible sex abuse, second degree felonies, for having sex with a 14-year-old student who attended the school where she taught, Bountiful Jr. High School. She faced a possible 1 to 15 year sentence on each count.

Valynne Bowers was the second of two teachers who had been charged with having sex with the same under-aged boy. Linda Nef, 47, the other teacher involved, was sentenced to 3 years to life in jail.

Before being sentenced Bowers stood before the judge and said:

“I just wanted to let my victim know how truly sorry I am and how remorseful I am. … I’m sorry for the pain him and his family have suffered,”

Her defense lawyer, Rich Gallegos, had asked the judge to be lenient with her and consider giving her probation with one year in jail. He claimed that it was the boy who initiated contact with her and that she was not a sexual predator.

“She’s a people-pleaser. She doesn’t know how to say no to people. … She was lonely and she was getting attention. Even though it was illegal, it was still attention.” However, the attorney said, “She acknowledges it’s her fault and not his.”

Prosecutor Rick Westmoreland on the other hand, argued for the maximum sentence, 15 years on each of the two counts, saying she was in a special position of trust as a teacher and fully deserved being given the maximum. He said a stiff sentence would send a message that people must be able to send their kids to school without fear.

“She knew what she was doing, and she continued doing it,” Westmoreland said. “Society needs to feel safe and feel like they can trust teachers.”

Judge John Morris held up a stack of letters that supporters had written on Bowers’ behalf but said it was his responsibility to punish her on behalf of society. “This is not an easy thing to do,” Morris said. “It is not disputed that you accomplished a good deal of good in your 10 years as a teacher.”

“The thing that stands out the most is the conduct with the victim was repeated over a period of months… You did not choose to say no and address the situation in a different fashion.” said Judge John Morris. “But this really isn’t a popularity contest. The thing that stands out the most is the conduct with the victim was repeated over a period of months. … You did not choose to say no and address the situation in a different fashion.”

In the end the judge agreed with the prosecution and sentenced Bowers to the maximum, 15 years on each count for a total of 30 years.

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