Former teacher sentenced in sex abuse case

Apr 27 2011 - 9:34am

Images

Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers looks toward her family in the audience as she is taken into custody in 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011 after being convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers is taken into custody in 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011 after being convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers addresses Judge John Morris in 2nd District Court in Farmington with attorney Rich Gallegos Monday, March 4, 2011. She was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers and attorney Rich Gallegos, right,  listen to prosecuter Rick Westmoreland in 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011. She was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers appears in 2nd District Court in Farmington with attorney Rich Gallegos Monday, March 4, 2011. She was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Rich Gallegos, attorney for former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers, addresses the media at 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011. Bowers was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. She is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Rick Westmoreland, prosecuter in the case against former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers, addresses the media at 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011. Bowers was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. She is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers looks toward her family in the audience as she is taken into custody in 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011 after being convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers is taken into custody in 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011 after being convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers addresses Judge John Morris in 2nd District Court in Farmington with attorney Rich Gallegos Monday, March 4, 2011. She was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers and attorney Rich Gallegos, right,  listen to prosecuter Rick Westmoreland in 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011. She was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers appears in 2nd District Court in Farmington with attorney Rich Gallegos Monday, March 4, 2011. She was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. Bowers is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Rich Gallegos, attorney for former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers, addresses the media at 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011. Bowers was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. She is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)
Rick Westmoreland, prosecuter in the case against former Bountiful Junior High teacher Valynne Bowers, addresses the media at 2nd District Court in Farmington Monday, March 4, 2011. Bowers was convicted of 2 counts of forcible sexual abuse of a child, second degree felonies, and sentenced to 2 consecutive terms of 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison. She is one of two teachers convicted of having sex with the same student. (Erin Hooley/Standard-Examiner)

FARMINGTON -- A former Bountiful Junior High School teacher has been sentenced to two consecutive terms of one to 15 years in Utah State Prison for having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Valynne Asay Bowers, 41, apologized to the victim, his family and her family before Judge John R. Morris sentenced her Monday in 2nd District Court.

The former math teacher pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to two counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse after having a sexual relationship with a student at the school.

"I just want to let my victim know how truly sorry I am," Bowers said.

"I'm sorry for the pain his family has suffered. I'm sorry for the pain my daughters have suffered. I'm sorry for the pain my family has suffered and for the pain the community has suffered. I'm truly sorry for what I've done to the victim."

She hugged her family members and privately thanked them for their support before walking to the podium for the sentencing hearing.

Morris said he received numerous letters in support of Bowers.

According to the presentence report he received from Adult Probation and Parole, Bowers does not pose a serious risk of offending again, he said.

But "this is not a popularity contest," Morris said.

Morris said, in order to protect the victim, he would not elaborate on why he decided to sentence Bowers to serve two consecutive terms instead of running the sentences concurrently.

"It's the right sentence," Deputy Davis County Attorney Rick Westmoreland said after the sentencing hearing.

The 14-year-old boy, who is now 16, was not a student of Bowers when the relationship started, but had been a student the previous year, officials said.

Westmoreland said if there had been one incident, his office would have asked for a sentence other than consecutive terms, but "this was not an isolated incident. This happened over a two-month period in a 14-year-old boy's life."

Prosecutors asked the judge for the consecutive sentence because Bowers was a teacher.

Westmoreland said another teacher had approached Bowers in 2009 about the relationship with the boy and told her to stop, but Bowers continued seeing the boy.

Bowers had worked for Davis School District since 1996. She had worked for 10 years in elementary education and then in 2006 was transferred to Bountiful Junior High School, where she taught until 2009.

She resigned shortly after she was arrested.

Defense attorney Rich Gallegos said he was "a little shocked" his client received consecutive sentences.

"There is nothing in the presentence report that warrants that," he said. "I'm at a loss of words as to why."

Gallegos said Bowers had been prepared for a prison sentence, but had hoped the judge would impose a one-year jail sentence with probation.

Gallegos said Bowers not only lost her job, but she also has not seen her two daughters, who are teenagers now, since her arrest.

Gallegos said Bowers has gone through sex offender treatment and has changed her thinking patterns.

"She is a people pleaser, and she didn't know how to say 'no,' " Gallegos said after the hearing.

Bowers had gone through a difficult divorce and "was lonely. So the attention she was receiving, even though it was illegal, was attention," Gallegos said.

He said the victim was "aggressive" and has a "dominant, strong personality."

The victim did not attend the court hearing, and neither did his attorney, Greg Skordas.

Bowers, who was arrested in March 2009, had originally been charged with eight first-degree felonies -- five counts of rape and three counts of forcible sodomy -- for her relationship with the boy, which began in January 2009 and continued until the end of February 2009.

Another teacher, Linda Nef, 48, who taught social studies at the school, had sex with the same boy in 2008, when he was 13.

She is currently serving three years to life in Utah State Prison. She pleaded guilty in 2009 to a first-degree felony attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

From Around the Web

  +