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Plea deal likely for former teacher accused in sex scandal

By Shara Park | Posted - Feb. 4, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.


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DAVIS COUNTY -- A former Bountiful Junior High School math teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student will likely not go to trial.

The attorney for Valynne Bowers told a judge Thursday a plea deal for the 40-year-old teacher had been reached. Prosecutors said the only step left was for the victim's family to approve it.

"We're just trying to work things out to make it easier on the victim, to avoid a trial and avoid having him testify," said Rich Gallegos, Bowers' attorney.

Gallegos said the plea deal would likely reduce the five first-degree felony counts of rape and three first-degree felony counts of forcible sodomy to a lesser crime.

The exact details of the deal were not released in court because the victim's family still needs to sign off on it. However, state prosecutor Rick Westmoreland said the deal is fair to the victim and will hold Bowers accountable for her actions.

"When it's all said and done, we just need to look to make sure justice is done," said Westmoreland. "I think if the family will buy off on the deal that we have in mind, I think everybody will be happy."

Bowers would not comment on the resolution as she left the courtroom, but her attorney said she's ready to take the deal and move forward.

"Valynne has always wanted to take responsibility, and I think we've always wanted to do that, and that's what we're trying to do without subjecting the victim to further public spotlight or court testimony," Gallegos said. "We're hopeful to get a resolution and that's what the prosecutor and myself are working towards."

According to preliminary hearing testimony, Bowers had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student in 2009 that lasted at least two months. That relationship ended when another teacher, 46-year-old Linda Nef, went to police and told them she was having a sexual relationship with the same boy.

Both women were arrested in March. In July, Nef was sentenced to three years to life in prison.

Whether Bowers will serve jail time for her sexual teacher-student relationship will still be up to the judge. Her attorney said he was hopeful Bowers would receive probation, which would include jail time instead of time in prison.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

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