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FILLMORE -- The former high school teacher and mayor of Fillmore who pleaded guilty to having sex with a teenage student received his sentence Wednesday afternoon.
Keith Gillins pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with the girl for several months during the school year. Some of the encounters occurred in his classroom.
The defense attorney gave a very long argument, asking for a year in jail followed by probation. But the judge didn't buy it and sent the former teacher to prison.
"These are very serious crimes. And they're more serious because of the position of trust a teacher occupies," said Juab County Attorney Jared Eldridge.
Gillins was arrested and charged on June 8 after a sexual relationship between he and the then 17-year-old girl became known. It was a relationship investigators say Gillins initiated through text messages. He later invited the girl to be a student assistant in his classroom at Millard High School.
On Wednesday, the victim, who is now 18, was in the courtroom. Her attorney read a statement on her behalf, saying: "This just did not happen to a nice guy in the community. He is a sick, sick man, and I hate him more than anything else. You have ruined me."
Prosecutors called Gillins' crimes a monumental betrayal of trust.
"Don't be too quick to judge these young ladies, or young men, or whoever they might be; because you may not know the whole story, as in this case where there was months of grooming that took place, months of preparation, before the actual criminal act took place. And I'm hoping that that message will come through," Eldridge said.
Gillins did offer an apology to the victim, as well as her family, his family, the school and community.
The judge sentenced him to serve three terms of up to life in prison as well as two terms of 1 to 15 years, all to run concurrently, meaning the 61-year-old defendant may have a chance at parole in a few years.