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SALT LAKE CITY — A victim in a teacher sex case is suing the Davis School District and Davis High School a second time — this time in federal court — saying administrators failed to protect him from her.
The same victim, now 19, pleaded guilty earlier this year to criminal charges after he tried to convince a second victim to recant his testimony against the teacher, then sent angry, threatening messages when that victim testified against Brianne Altice anyway.
The new lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday by the 19-year-old and his parents after a state court judge agreed in June to allow the family to withdraw a similar lawsuit they had filed in Farmington.
In the lawsuit, the family claims that school supervisors had a duty to keep him from harassment and sexual abuse equally to the protection of other Davis High students, regardless of race or sex, under the 14th Amendment.
The school and district administrations knew Altice was engaged in inappropriate behavior during and after school, on and off school property but did nothing to adequately protect the boy and the other victims, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
Attorneys said in court documents that the running joke at the high school was, "Who is Ms. Altice sleeping with now?"
In addition to district and school administrators, the complaint names Altice as a defendant.
Earlier this month, a state court judge also tossed a lawsuit filed by one Altice's other two victims. A school district attorney argued that the district is immune from liability under state law that exempts state entities for physical and emotional harm suffered as the result of physical battery.
A 30-year sentence
Altice pleaded guilty in April to three counts of forcible sexual abuse stemming from sexual relationships with the three students who were 16 or 17 years old at the time in 2013 and 2014. A 2nd District judge sentenced her to 30 years in prison.
Police say Altice, an English teacher, befriended the boys while they were students, eventually progressing to three separate sexual relationships, meeting the teens for sex at parks, in cars and at her home while her husband was away. She has since divorced.
During Altice's prosecution, the victim who is now a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit knew that a second victim had also been in a sexual relationship with Altice, but he encouraged the second victim to go to prosecutors and recant his allegations against the teacher, according to charging documents.
"The defendant used leverage that Altice's children would not have a mother in their life if the witness did not change his story," an investigator wrote.
A day before that same witness (second victim) was to testify against Altice, the now-19-year-old man called the witness three times, then sent text messages saying Altice's life was in his hands. "And not just that but yu told me I was your brother and yu wud do anything for me," one text said, according to court documents. "… I hope with all my heart that yu wont put yur best friend and her thru that devastation."
Testimony of the 2nd victim
/> Instead, the second victim testified in court about sexual contact with Altice and said he'd been asked to lie about it. After the hearing, the "defendant began driving in front of the witness' home at a high rate of speed and sounding his horn," charging documents state.
Two days later, he contacted the victim through angry and vulgar Snapchat messages and threatened to kill him and his girlfriend, according to court documents.
He was charged with tampering with a witness and retaliation against a witness, both third-degree felonies. In January, he pleaded guilty to reduced charges of attempted tampering with a witness and attempted retaliation against a witness, both class A misdemeanors, as part of a plea bargain. He was allowed to enter his pleas in abeyance for 18 months and was found to be in compliance of the terms of his agreement in a July report.
The new federal lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages for physical, mental and emotional pain and expenses for counseling, therapy and related care and treatment. It also seeks punitive damages against Altice.