Thursday, May 7, 2009

UT: 2 Bountiful teachers arrested for sex with student

BOUNTIFUL -- Bountiful police have arrested two teachers from Bountiful Junior High School for having sex with one of their students.

Valynne Bowers, 39, was arrested Thursday evening, and officers took 46-year-old Linda Nef into custody Friday afternoon.

With the suspects being so much older than their victim some wonder what would prompt them to commit the crime.

University of Utah psychology professor Don Strassberg says that would be an easier question to answer if the teachers were men. With men, he says, it's probably about the sex.

But it's more complicated when you're talking about women. For them, Strassberg says getting into a relationship like this is likely more about them: their needs, having control, getting attention.

"It's appealing to any of us, attention. We all like to have attention. But imagine if it's a person who, for whatever reason, isn't getting a lot of attention in their lives and suddenly they're getting it from this student," Strassberg said.

Strassberg obviously doesn't know what motivated these two teachers to get involved with the student, but he is just as surprised as everyone else that it happened the way it did.

Bowers was a popular teacher at Bountiful Junior High School. She became a math teacher at the school in 2006 and has been a teacher for a total of 13 years.

"She helped me a lot in my math classes ‘cause I hate math really bad, but she helped it so it was easier," said Riley Fisher, a student at Bountiful Junior High.

Riley's mom, Carol Fisher, told us, "She taught both of my children, both Tony and Riley, and she was an excellent teacher."

But police say Bowers crossed the line with a 13-year old student. They say the two had an ongoing sexual relationship that began three months ago, shortly after the teen's affair with another teacher at the same school ended.

"Two teachers at the same school with the same student is a surprise," said Bountiful police Lt. Randy Pickett.

According to police, the teen told Bowers about his affair with the other teacher, Linda Nef. Bowers confronted Nef, who then went to police and confessed.

The Davis County School District says both women passed background checks. Police say Nef resigned earlier this week, but Bowers was still a teacher at the time of her arrest.

"When we look at the charges, first-degree felonies, I don't think there's any other reaction than shock," said Chris Williams, community relations director for the Davis School District.

That's how many parents reacted to the news. Some of them were so shocked they declined to do an interview. Students didn't want to believe it either.

"I honestly don't think she's capable of something like that, but you never know. You'd expect that a teacher, especially, wouldn't do something like that, especially if they have their own kids," Riley said.

Bowers and Nef have both have been charged with rape and forcible sodomy.

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