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Bountiful • Former drama teacher Jeremy Flygare delivered a tearful apology for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. But the girl's mother called Flygare's statements just another performance from an actor who has manipulated others and lied.
"Your honor, please send him to prison. He has no fear for the law. Has no respect for kids," the victim's mother said in court. "This is going to be on our family for life, not for like a year."
On Friday, Judge Thomas Kay sentenced Flygare to prison for up to 15 years.
Flygare, 33, was charged in 2nd District Court with three counts of first-degree felony rape, which is punishable by up to life in prison.
He pleaded guilty in September to two lesser counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse, each punishable by one to 15 years behind bars. Kay ordered the two convictions to run concurrently.
The victim's mother said her daughter's and her family's lives had been destroyed by Flygare's actions. The victim's father also addressed the judge and court spectators, saying that just the night before their daughter had said she didn't want them in her lives. The father added that he might someday forgive Flygare, but that the defendant had to pay for what he did by going to prison
During the nearly three-hour sentencing hearing, Flygare's defense attorney, Kenneth Brown, argued for jail time and work release rather than prison, saying his client was remorseful, had no prior offenses and after several months of intense treatment was considered to be at a low-to-moderate risk level. The doctor who had been working with Flygare told the judge that the former drama teacher's interpersonal issues and thinking errors had improved over the course of the treatment, which needed to continue
Flygare, crying as he addressed the court, apologized for his actions, saying he had let down his family and students. "I feel that I have disappointed thousands of people," Flygare said.
"I can feel how much pain [the victim's family] has, and I know it's my fault," he said. "I'm so sorry for that. I'm so sorry that it's taken so long for me to understand."
Prosecutor Cristina Ortega said there were enough aggravating factors in the case to justify a prison sentence. Ortega said he had violated his position of trust as teacher at Northridge High School in Layton and manipulated the teen with immature and needy behavior.
She added that at the same time Flygare was having sex with the girl, he was lying to school board members, who had expressed concerns about Flygare's non-sexual relationship with a different student.
The school board had talked to Flygare about "boundary issues," and Flygare had written the board, promising to address those concerns, Ortega said. "It's a pattern. A concerning pattern," she said. Brown argued for jail time so Flygare could continue with his treatment. Pre-sentence investigators didn't recommend prison time. But the judge decided otherwise
"If you are a teacher, you don't do that to a student," the judge said. He ordered Flygare to pay $600 in restitution and ordered no contact with the victim.
Flygare's family members wept in the audience as Kay delivered his decision. Kay told Flygare, "This is not the end of the world. You can change."
Flygare had sex with the girl between 10 and 15 times during the 2009-10 school year, including once at the Layton school, according to the charges.
The student's parents told police that Flygare and the girl were sitting together on a living room couch when the parents came home from a vacation last year, charges state. Flygare picked up his jacket and apologized as he left the home, according to court documents.
Flygare began teaching at Northridge in August 2007. His employment was terminated in June.