This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Farmington • The mother of one of the three teenage boys who had sexual encounters with former Davis High School teacher Brianne Altice lamented that society often applies a double standard when a female teacher has sex with male students and the boys are not seen as victims.
But she emphasized at Altice's sentencing hearing on Thursday that her son and the other two boys were victimized when Altice had inappropriate relationships with them. They have been damaged, she said, psychologically and emotionally.
"I can tell you, unequivocally, that these boys are victims," the tearful woman said in 2nd District Court. "They will be affected by this unlawful relationship throughout their lives."
The woman, who was not identified in court to protect her son's identity, said she wanted to tell Altice, "mother-to-mother," that the former English teacher has hurt her son and the other boys in ways that she will never know.
The woman added that she is "heartbroken" that Altice's criminal decisions will affect the defendant's own children.
"It is unfair and it is unfortunate, but we can not help wondering how much she was thinking about her children when she chose to engage sexually with ours," the woman said.
Judge Thomas Kay sentenced 36-year-old Altice to prison for up to 30 years for her crimes.
Altice had pleaded guilty in April to three counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse, each carrying a one-to-15-year prison sentence.
Kay ordered that two of the sentences run concurrently to one another, with the third to run consecutively.
Kay emphasized that he was not handing down the harsh sentence "for the press," adding that he thinks the news media "are a distraction" and should not be allowed in court when someone's life and liberty are at stake.
However, he added a warning to the larger population: "I have to say to society, when a female or a male teacher does this to children, this is going to happen," noting that he has always ordered prison time for teachers convicted of having sexual relations with a student.
Kay also said he was concerned that after Altice was arrested and then freed on bail in connection with two of the victims, she continued a relationship with the third victim.
As Kay handed down the sentence, Altice shackled and wearing an orange striped jail jumpsuit stood still, showing little emotion. Earlier in the hearing, however, she had sobbed as she apologized to the victims and their families.
"If I could, I would personally apologize to each individual that has been affected by this," she said. "Grief fills my heart for all involved."
Altice's attorney, Edward Brass, told the judge that the inappropriate relationships stemmed from a bad marriage and his client's issues with self-esteem. He asked for jail time and probation for the woman, saying, she is "troubled" and "has problems with viewing her own worth."
"She blurred the lines between being a teacher and a friend," Brass said, adding that Altice also encouraged many young people in a positive way at the school.
But Brass also claimed that Altice was "pursued" by the boys, who made flirtatious comments to her on a daily basis.
Altice told the judge that many people who don't know her have passed judgment on her.
"One day you're loved, and the next day, you're a target ... For me, this is real life," she told Kay, while asking for leniency. "This is not just some news story, not just some case.
"There is a real person with real children and a real family behind it all … My children need their mother back. I'm not a risk. I'm not violent. I'm not a threat."
But as Deputy Davis County Attorney Cristina Ortega argued for a prison sentence, she reminded the judge that this was about the boys' real lives, as well.
"I think it's very inappropriate the fact that society, for some reason, says, 'They're boys. They're men. This would be any kids' fantasy,' " she said. "It's not. This is real life. This isn't something that should be commended somehow."
Ortega told the judge that Altice should have drawn the line and reported any inappropriate comments the teens made toward her.
"For them, they are young, and they were flirting with their teacher," she said. "Then it changed because of her… She's the teacher. She's the adult… She upped the ante [to] no longer flirting, but sexual contact, with all three students."
Altice was originally facing 11 other felony counts relating to allegations that she had sexual relationships with three teen boys beginning in 2013, but those charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal. Those charges included counts of first-degree felony sodomy and rape, as well as charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and dealing in harmful material to a minor.
Among the initial charges filed against Altice were seven first-degree felonies, each carrying a potential sentence of up to life in prison.
She admitted in plea agreement documents that she touched the genitals of three boys one of whom was 16 and two who were 17 from January to September of 2013. Each of the three teen boys testified at separate preliminary hearings that they had sexual intercourse with the teacher.
Two of the students have since sued the Davis County School District, alleging the district was negligent in hiring and retaining Altice. One of those lawsuits has since been dismissed at the request of the victim's attorneys, according to court records.