Former teacher pleads guilty to sex with student; community reacts

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FILLMORE -- A former teacher at Millard High School pleaded guilty Wednesday to having a sexual relationship with one of his female students. He admitted to five counts in two separate counties.

Both Millard County and Juab County prosecutors decided to look at these multiple sexual encounters as one criminal episode, and instead of 15-plus counts, prosecutors narrowed it down to five.

Charges Gillins pleaded to

Keith Lorraine Gillins, 61, pleaded guilty to two first-degree felonies--attempted rape and attempted sodomy--in Juab County for an incident that happened over Easter weekend of this year. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years to life.

In Millard County, Gillins pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree felony attempted rape for a November 2008 incident, which also carries a penalty of three years to life.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible sex abuse--both second-degree felonies stemming from crimes committed in October and November of last year. Those two hold a 1 to 15 year maximum penalty.

Prosecutors say they are happy with the results, especially because they had to balance their legal needs with those of the teenage victim, who most likely did not want to testify at trial.

"It's always a consideration. That's always something we take into account in a case like this--generally very sensitive. We have a young lady there who is pretty fragile," said Patrick Finlinson, deputy county attorney for Millard County.

In exchange for the plea deal, prosecutors will not pursue any further charges. Gillins will remain in custody until sentencing on Oct. 14.

Reaction from community

Before this, Gillins was a picture of pride in the community. He was a former mayor of Fillmore, a high school teacher and coach, as well as an LDS Bishop.

"Everybody's heard about what he's done for the community and everything," said Fillmore resident Aaron Anderson. "You just never would've thought."

Millard High School student Kember Anderson said, "I never would've expected any of this. It was a really big shock."

Last year, Gillins was Kember's English teacher. Now she's happy to have some closure.

"It's just been this big fiasco, rumors flying everywhere," she said. "It's just nice to have some truth."

That truth is surprising to Arvadale Ashman. She owns the Pioneer Market in town and has known Gillians for the past 20 years.

"You read about it happening in other communities. You don't want it to happen in your own, but there's no guarantees," Ashman said.

Wednesday was the first day back at Millard High, and although things will never be the same for Gillins or the victim, things are slowly returning back to normal at school.

"I think everything's going to work out," Kember said. "It's still kind of a tender subject, but I think it's going to be OK. I think the community is recovering."

KSL News tried to talk to Gillins' family Wednesday, but they declined comment. As for the victim, her stepfather was in court and told us she's been on a roller coaster of emotions.


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