Two Bountiful Junior High School teachers are accused of sexually assaulting the same 13-year-old student, after their separate relationships with him spiraled from personal conversations to the exchange of sexual text messages and phone sex, authorities said.
On Friday, the Davis County Attorney's Office filed first-degree felony charges of rape and sodomy on a child against Linda R. Nef, 46, and Valynne Bowers, 39.
Nef, a Utah studies teacher and cheerleading adviser, and Bowers, who teaches math, each confessed to having sex with the student, said Bountiful Police Lt. Randy Pickett. Until recently, the two teachers did not know about each other's relationship with the same boy, Pickett said.
The charges were filed after Nef arranged a meeting with police on Thursday and admitted having sex with the boy for more than a year, Pickett said. Their sexual relationship allegedly began in October 2007 and lasted until December 2008, he said.
During the meeting, Nef revealed Bowers' relationship with the boy, Pickett said. Bowers allegedly began having sex with him in December, and she also has acknowledged the relationship, he said.
Nef was booked into the Davis County Jail on Friday afternoon and has her first court appearance scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 27.
Bowers also was arrested and booked into the jail on Friday, Pickett said. She later appeared in court, where she waived her right to a preliminary hearing and was ordered to stand trial. A felony arraignment in her case is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 16.
Nef, who began her career with the Davis County School District in 2004 as a physical education teacher at Taylor Elementary School, resigned from her post at the junior high on Monday, said school district spokesman Chris Williams.
Bowers was placed on administrative leave while district officials conduct their own investigation. Bowers has taught in the district since 1996 and was an elementary school teacher for nine years before she transferred to Bountiful Junior High in 2006, Williams said.
"So far, there is nothing to indicate that there are any other students involved, or any other faculty or employees involved," Pickett said.
In separate conversations, the boy and the two teachers began discussing personal problems, Pickett said. That led to text messages, including ones involving sexual matters, then phone sex and the alleged sexual assaults, Pickett said.
The investigation so far indicates none of the alleged sex acts occurred at the school, Pickett said. Instead, the teachers allegedly went with the student to homes, parking lots or parks in Bountiful, Woods Cross, Farmington and Kaysville.
Williams said parents picking up their children from the school Friday expressed disbelief and shock. Jenifer Wright, whose eighth-grade daughter attends the school, said the news alarmed her.
"It makes me very worried. I'm very protective about my children," she said.
Holly Ruhr, whose seventh-grade daughter attends the school, said she is not worried by the charges because she has been "impressed in every way" by Bountiful Junior High.
"My daughter is thrilled to go to class every day," she said. "This is just a case of one or two teachers. Not a bad school."
Another parent struggled to believe the allegations, defending Bowers as a great teacher.
Since 2007, at least 10 other Utah teachers or school employees have been charged with engaging in sexual acts with students. Among recent cases:
In November 2007, Frank Laine Hall, 37, was sentenced to prison for molesting 11 of his first-grade students at Rosamond Elementary School in Riverton.
Also in 2007, former West High School guidance counselor Marco R. Herrera, 53, received three consecutive one-to-15 year prison terms for engaging in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl at least 10 times. An honors teacher at the same school was charged in 2008 with multiple counts of having sex with the same girl; his case is pending.