A former Utah teacher who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse after having sex with three of her underage students is asking to be released early from prison
A former Utah teacher who pleaded guilty two years ago to sexual abuse, after having sex with three of her underage students, sought parole this week during an emotional hearing where she detailed her crimes.
“I clearly lost sight of all my values and my principles and was seeking inappropriate means to address my own issues, issues I’m very aware of now,” Brianne Altice said Tuesday during a hearing with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
As she discussed her past acts, Altice was occasionally in tears (as she was, repeatedly, during court appearances).
“This was my doing,” the 36-year-old said. “This was no one else’s fault but my own. This was not my ex-husband’s fault, or the school’s fault, or my students’ fault. These were my poor, poor decisions. I’m very aware of it and I am very remorseful. I regret the decisions I made that brought us here.”
Altice — a former English teacher at Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah, and a mother of two — pleaded guilty to three counts of forcible sex abuse in April 2015. In exchange, 11 charges were dropped, including three first-degree felony rape charges, according to local reports.
Altice was first arrested in October 2013 after one of the victims came forward to police.
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During her parole hearing Tuesday, Altice admitted to inappropriate sexual conduct with the victims, who were 16 and 17 at the time. She also acknowledged she’d had sex with one of them, a then 16-year-old student, in a church parking lot and during the school lunch hour.
Altice also confessed to having sexual encounters with one victim, a 17-year-old boy, after she was arrested and out on bail.
“Did you grasp the gravity of the situation at this time?” asked Robert Yeates, the parole board’s vice-chairman.
“No, I do not believe I did,” Altice responded.
“I had extreme self-esteem issues, and they [the victims] said things that made me feel good about myself,” she said. “I just started to justify everything. I wasn’t functioning in a healthy adult manner at all.”
Victim’s Mom: ‘It’s More of an Emotional Abuse’
Prosecutors say Altice’s crimes had a “really substantial impact” on her victims.
“I think it was the sentiment in the public that this was any boy’s dream to have a relationship with an older woman like a teacher, and I didn’t see it that way because she impacted the lives of all three of these boys,” Davis County Deputy District Attorney Cristina Ortega tells PEOPLE.
“I think she took advantage of each of the boys and what issues they may have had, whether it was their family or drugs or that sort of thing,” Ortega says. “I think she took advantage of that and she made their problems even worse. And on top of that, they had to deal with the public scrutiny of a lot of people saying, ‘You are not a victim because you are a boy.’ I think she layered on the impact with these boys.”
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The mother of one of the victims explained it this way in 2015: “I think people don’t see how it really affects the kids, the boys. It’s not a ‘tie the boy down and rape him’ sort of abuse. You don’t know until you’re a parent, really, what it is, and it’s more of an emotional abuse.”
Altice said at Tuesday’s hearing that she has earned a paralegal certificate and has been taking life-skills classes and receiving therapy while at Timpanogos Women’s Facility in Draper, Utah. If she is released, she said she plans to live at a home owned by her parents and continue her therapy.
A five-member board will now deliberate and make a decision in about two weeks to determine how much time Altice will spend behind bars, a parole board spokesman tells PEOPLE.
The spokesman says Altice’s current release date is 2045.