Teacher Responds to Sex Abuse Lawsuit: 'His Grades Improved'11-Apr-2016
A former Utah high school teacher serving time for sexually assaulting three teenage students has issued a surprising response to a lawsuit by one boy's parents.
Brianne Altice, 36, is a former high school English teacher who pleaded guilty to three counts of forcible sexual abuse, admitting to touching the genitals of three male students, aged 16 and 17. Each of the three teens testified at a preliminary hearing that they had sex with the teacher. A judge sentenced Altice to two to 30 years in prison, a sentence she is currently serving.
Now, the parents of two of the boys have filed lawsuits against Altice and the school district, saying that school officials failed to respond to employee complaints that the teacher was involved in inappropriate relationships with male students.
In a two page response to one of the lawsuits, Altice says that she cannot find a lawyer to represent her in the lawsuit, and offers a startling defense to her actions--she was helping the boy.
Altice says that the 16-year-old boy was having difficulty with his parents and sought advice from her. She says that she encouraged him to communicate with his parents and to stay in school. She says that while he was her student, he would help her "thwart inappropriate comments" made to her or directed at her.
Altice notes that the student's grades improved during the 2012-2013 school year--the same year she was his teacher and also the same year the two were involved in a sexual relationship. She says she had "no evil or malicious intent" in developing a sexual relationship with the student.
It doesn't seem likely that any court is going to think improved academic performance is a mitigating factor in a criminal sexual relationship between a teacher and a student.
Both lawsuits allege that the school district was aware of the inappropriate relationships between Altice and her students, but did nothing to stop them. The school district denies knowledge of any sexual abuse while Altice was employed by the district.
Before accepting a plea agreement to plead guilty to three counts of forcible sexual abuse, Altice was initially charged in the case with 14 felony counts, including rape.
In Oklahoma, state law prohibits a sexual relationship or physical sexual contact between students under the age of 20 and school district employees over the age of 18. Teachers who engage in "consensual" sexual contact with students who are otherwise of age to consent to sexual activity (aged 16 or older) may be charged with second degree rape, sexual battery, or forcible sodomy. All three acts are felony sex crimes punishable by lifetime sex offender registration.
For a second degree rape conviction, a person faces a sentence of one to 15 years in prison. Sexual battery carries a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years. Forcible sodomy is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Learn more about Oklahoma sex crimes here.
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