Updated post on damage control measures HERE.
Update March 16: Valynne Powers pleads not guilty; updated post HERE.
The story has been picked up by KSL Channel 5, the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Ogden Standard-Examiner, and KTVX Channel 4. Valynne Bowers, a 39-year-old math teacher at Bountiful Junior High, has been accused of having sex with an unidentified student. Bowers was booked into the Davis County Jail early on Friday March 6th, 2009 and charged in 2nd District Court with rape and forcible sodomy, both first-degree felonies. She's being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, and her next hearing is scheduled for March 16th. The spelling of the woman's name is confirmed by her Davis County jail record.
Police said Bowers told them the affair with the student occurred from late December to January of this year. Officers then questioned the 14-year-old boy, who admitted to the affairs and identified both Bowers and another female teacher, now identified as 46-year-old Linda Nef. The boy is currently in the care of his parents, and state child welfare workers have been contacted. None of the sex acts occurred at the school, as far as police could tell. Instead, the teachers would go with the student to homes, parking lots or parks in Bountiful, Woods Cross, Farmington and Kaysville. [Ed. Note: Presumably, the steam room at Utah State University was unavailable at the time.]
Valynne Bowers, pictured above
Linda Nef, pictured above
Ironically, it was the other teacher, Linda Nef, who ratted out Bowers, once she realized what it was leading to. Nef told authorities that she had a relationship with the boy from October 2007 to December 2008. Nef has since resigned from her position; she was a part-time teacher who also served as a cheerleading advisor. Davis County prosecutors first filed charges against Bowers, then later filed the same charges against Nef, but they will take Nef's voluntary cooperation into consideration. Nef's first court date is scheduled for March 27th, and her attorney, Sean Druyon, has yet to comment.
At Bountiful Junior High, teachers were in shock, according to Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams, who stated, "They are serious charges and there's just absolutely certain lines you cannot cross as an educator".
Bowers has been a teacher in the Davis County School District since 1996, working for a decade at an elementary school before moving to Bountiful Junior High in 2006 to teach math. Williams said that she has been placed on administrative leave. Linda Nef, he said, "is not teaching for us". Williams would not say any more about her until criminal charges have been filed. The junior high school's principal met with faculty Friday to reveal the scandal.
Police said the boy, who is now 14, is in the care of his parents and state child welfare workers have been contacted. Both police and prosecutors said they never would have known about it if Linda Nef had not broken her silence.
Commentary: I don't mean to make light of this situation, but I couldn't help going into Jay Leno mode. The fact is, when a male student is victimized, it should be viewed as seriously as it is when a female student is victimized. The humorous references made throughout my post are designed to illustrate the gender disparity which exists when evaluating sexual relationships between teachers and students. This disparity needs to be eradicated to better prevent this problem.
And this problem is unfortunately widespread. The BadBadTeacher website documents and reports such incidents nationwide, although they have yet to pick up on this story.