High School Teacher Had Sex with Student, Claims Grades Improved
Brianne Altice, who had sex with three of her underage students, says she had "no evil or malicious intent."
Screengrab via YouTube
A former Utah teacher convicted of having sex with three of her underage students recently made claims that one of her student's grades improved during their affair.
Brianne Altice, now 36, was an English teacher at Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah, when she was accused of engaging in three separate sexual relationships with boys who were between the ages of 16 and 17. Altice pleaded guilty on July 9, 2015, and was sentenced to between two and 30 years in prison.
According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Altice recently filed a handwritten, two-page document in federal court in response to a lawsuit filed against her and the Davis School District by one of the victims and his parents.
In the document, Altice says she had "no evil or malicious intent" in her relationship with the student. She also wrote that the teen would "thwart inappropriate comments directed at her" and that he came to her for advice on how to fix his strained relationship with his parents. She added that the boy's grades improved during the 2012-2013 school year when she was his teacher.
Altice's insistence of the positive benefits of her relationship with her students points to a specific trait that's common among female sex offenders. "Some researchers argue that female sex offenders are motivated not just in terms of a sexual gratification, but by intimacy," says Gail Stern, a violence prevention educator. She adds, "You tend to see less peer-to-peer assault with female sex offenders, which is why they are more likely to be seen and exposed in a [school] setting."
In terms preventing sexual abuse between teachers and students, Stern advises to "watch for scenarios where the teacher is playing favorites." She cites a teacher taking students on trips or having them stay at their home as examples, adding that "you don't want to criminalize a teacher trying to take care of a student in a legitimate way, if that student is having an awful home life and that teacher is reaching out... But you want to start looking at situations where a teacher is isolating someone."
Stern points out that it can be much harder to identify a female sex offender because sex with an attractive teacher has so long been held up as the male fantasy. "I'm of a generation where Van Halen's 'Hot For Teacher' video pretty much said 'this is the ultimate,'" she explains.
Stern believes this view exacerbates what she views as a "huge problem" with male victims disclosing any form of sexual abuse, whether it's by a male or female perpetrator. "You have all these factors that are compounded that make it so hard for men to report at any age, let alone a male adolescent." These factors are part of what Stern considers a corrosive, patriarchal sexual norm, one which implies that men, almost regardless of any age, are "up for it."
Even though the Altice's victims came forward and testified, Stern argues that societal norms "are not set up to support a male victim saying, 'A woman preyed upon me.'" She adds that "in many of these cases, the female predator is saying, 'This is just part of a relationship.' Which is incredibly confusing for an adolescent, whether they're male or female."
So, why might a woman become a sex offender? There's no hard and fast rule, but Stern says that typically, female sex offenders were victims of sexual abuse themselves.
The student and teacher relationship can create potential victims regardless of gender—just look at the Dennis Hastert case as an example. "You want to see how an individual, either male or female, is exploiting the norms of that culture to gain access to potential victims," Stern says. "If we start looking at cultural norms across the board, that will help catch sex offenders period, not just female sex offenders and male sex offenders."