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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- A former teacher of the year accused of sexually abusing a fourth-grader 14 years ago was convicted at a second trial. "Justice was served and truth was heard," the victim, now a 23-year-old man, said outside the 1st District Courthouse.
Alan Willey was charged with inappropriately touching a 9-year-old boy on a near-daily basis during the 1993-94 school year.
A jury Thursday found him guilty of seven second-degree felony charges, one for each month of abuse. They carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. In November, a different jury deadlocked 4-4.
Deputy Cache County Attorney Tony Baird said fewer witnesses testifying about their own abuse may have helped focus the jury's attention during the second trial. Jurors heard from former classmates who said they saw the abuse at Wilson Elementary School.
Baird said they came forward independently. "They have never spoken (to each other) about what happened in the fourth grade," he said. "Not then. Not now."
Defense attorney Wally Bugden said Willey was blamed by former students who viewed him as different. "He's not stern. He is soft-spoken. He does have a high-pitched voice," Bugden said.
He said a teacher improperly touching a student during class was as improbable as "witches on broomsticks."
Willey, 52, had worked as a teacher in Utah since 1979. He taught at Edith Bowen, Wilson and Hillcrest elementary schools in Logan and also taught in St. George.
Information from: The Herald Journal
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)