BOUNTIFUL — A judge took a former drama teacher to task Friday after 2 1⁄2 hours of emotional statements from the victim’s parents, the attorneys and the teacher himself.
“Teachers are more important than judges,” Kay said in the sentencing hearing on Friday that lasted five times longer than a regular sentencing hearing.
“They’re more important than police officers or elected officials. For good or bad, they help students in our society. They can inspire or destroy a student.”
Kay ordered former Northridge High School drama teacher Jeremy Page Flygare, 33, to serve two concurrent sentences of one to 15 years in Utah State Prison for having sex with a 17-year-old student.
Kay said the young woman did not deserve what happened to her.
He also said he received letters from Flygare’s family and friends supporting him, but also “hinting (the student) was asking for it. If you’re a teacher, you don’t do that.”
At the hearing, the mother of the victim said she no longer has a relationship with her daughter, whose dream of becoming an actress was destroyed by Flygare.
What Flygare did to her daughter has also impacted the lives of her other children, who “are suffering,” the woman said.
“I am taking a stand today for all the victims,” the woman said as she asked Kay to send Flygare to prison.
Her daughter, the victim, was not in the courtroom.
The girl’s father also spoke during the hearing.
“We are protecting her,” he said.
The parents of the girl found out about the relationship March 30, 2010, when they came home to find Flygare inside with their daughter.
Deputy Davis County Attorney Cristina Ortega said Flygare had sexual intercourse with the girl at least 15 times during the 2009-10 school year. He was hired in August 2007 as a theater teacher for Northridge.
Flygare was in tears as bailiffs handcuffed him and led him out of the courtroom filled with family members, including his wife.
“I feel like I’ve disappointed thousands of people who have interacted with me over my life,” Flygare said while trying to control his emotions.
He also apologized to the victim, her parents and other family members in the courtroom.
The victim’s mother said she doesn’t believe Flygare’s apology because, “I think the defendant is a good actor. He manipulates people.”
Flygare pleaded guilty in September to two counts of second-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse for having a sexual relationship with the student.
Dr. Peter M. Burne, a psychologist who conducts psychosexual evaluations and treats sex offenders, took the stand at the beginning of the hearing. He talked about evaluations Flygare took and also about Flygare’s therapy.
Burne said that, according to the evaluation done in May, Flygare posted a low to moderate risk of re-offending.
Flygare is intelligent but also manipulative, according to the evaluation, Burne said. Flygare has shown progress in correcting his thinking patterns since he began outpatient therapy four months ago.
Flygare’s attorney, Ken Brown, asked Kay to consider sentencing Flygare to serve two years in Davis County Jail with work release so he could continue outpatient therapy.
After the hearing, Brown said he was disappointed with the sentence but respects the judge’s decision.
Flygare “will not get treatment at the prison for at least 18 months,” Brown said. “He is at the bottom of the list.”
Layton police arrested Flygare on March 31, 2010.
Flygare had been terminated from Northridge High School on March 27, 2010, for having inappropriate, nonsexual relationships with students, Ortega said.
Those relationships included one in 2008 when Flygare admitted to school officials that he had sent inappropriate text messages to another female student.