BOUNTIFUL, Utah (AP) — A former high school teacher accused of having sexual relationships with three of her students took a plea deal Wednesday, crying as she accepted the agreement in court.
One of the boys was 16 and two were 17 when they were having sex with Brianne Altice, 35. One testified that he considered her to be his girlfriend during their yearlong sexual relationship.
But the boys were all minors, and Utah law also says a person cannot consent to sex if the other person is in a position of special trust. Altice, who taught high school English, pleaded guilty to three counts of forcible sexual abuse in exchange for prosecutors dropping 11 other counts, including several first-degree felonies.
School officials knew about Altice’s inappropriate behavior and didn’t do enough to protect the students, the boys and their parents say. In a lawsuit against the Davis School District, they say the running joke at the high school was, “Who is Ms. Altice sleeping with now?”
Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said he would love to comment on the allegations but that the civil lawsuit precludes him from saying anything.
Prosecutor Susan Hunt said the three victims are on board with the plea deal, The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1aSS1Oh).
Altice is scheduled to be sentenced on May 28. Each count carries a possible sentence of 1 to 15 years in prison.
Altice’s attorney, Ed Brass, said his client wanted to resolve a case to avoid risking an uncertain outcome at trial. Brass previously defended Altice, saying she was no longer the boys’ teacher when the sex occurred.
Altice was first arrested in October 2013 after a student reported having a relationship with her. Two more victims later came forward with similar allegations.
Altice was out on bail during most of the criminal proceedings until allegations emerged earlier this year that she had sex with the third victim following her 2013 arrest. A judge ordered her to jail, where she’s been for the three months.
Brass asked the judge Wednesday to let Altice out on bail until her sentencing, but the judge denied the request.
Altice was hired by the Davis County School District in 2004 and had been teaching at the high school since August 2012. She was put on leave from the school after the allegations came to light and later fired in February 2014.
Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net