Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Linda Nef Sentenced to 3 Years to Life for Having Sex with Student

Despite requests from Linda Nef's 13-year-old victim and his family, Judge Rodney Page said Tuesday that he had no other choice but to send a former Bountiful Junior High teacher to prison.

The 2nd District judge sentenced Nef to three years to life in prison for having sex with one of her former students, and a flushed and sobbing Nef was immediately handcuffed and led from the courtroom.

In lengthy remarks before he imposed the sentence, Page said he wished the responsibility to sentence her rested with someone else.

"I haven't slept well in thinking about this case and knowing that from the date the defendant entered her plea, it would be my responsibility to impose sentence," Page said.

While he said it was commendable that Nef had come forward and confessed her wrongdoing with the boy, he said there were hundreds if not thousands of victims besides this particular boy who had been hurt by her actions.

"The greater victim in this might be our society as a whole," Page said. "This undermines our faith, beliefs and confidence in institutions that create the foundation of freedoms by which we live — and that is our schools.

"In our society, we esteem our teachers to be among the most honorable people, although sometimes we wouldn't think that by the way we try to pay them and other things. We entrust them with the most important commodity we have in our society, and that is our children," Page said.

Page said he had no doubt Nef was a good teacher and was genuinely repentant for what she has done, but the judge sensed Nef also was motivated by the "a concern this was going to come out anyway" once Nef got word about an alleged sexual relationship between another teacher and the same boy.

A tearful Nef, 46, apologized to her victim, his family and "educators everywhere who have been damaged by my actions," but especially the faculty at Bountiful Junior High, whom she characterized as honorable and hard-working people.

"I loved teaching with all my heart — and yet I committed a crime," she said.

Nef, who is married and the mother of three, began to choke up as she described how sorry she was for any harm she had done to the boy and said she wanted to offer her apologies publicly for "my completely selfish actions."

"I was an adult, I was responsible, and I knew better," she said.

Nef pleaded guilty in June to a reduced charge of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, as part of a plea bargain.

She originally faced charges of rape of a child and sodomy on a child, both first-degree felonies that generally carry tough penalties.


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