It appears that the judge ruling over this case actually followed the law instead of the general social convention of letting female child rapists walk:
Before being sentenced to prison for three years to life, a sobbing Bountiful Junior High teacher apologized to the former student she sexually abused last year.
Second District Judge Rodney Page agreed Nef had broken the trust of her students.
“I know the esteem and worship and adulation children have for a good teacher,” Page said. “I don’t doubt that you were a good teacher, but in our society we esteem our teachers to be among the most honorable professionals and we entrust them with our most important commodity, our children.”
Page added that many in the community believe blame rests with the victim and that he had aggressively pursued Nef in the relationship. “I do not share that opinion,” Page said, “and I would say neither does Ms. Nef.”
And although she came forward and told police what she had done, the judge wondered if she acted in the belief that the relationship was about to be exposed anyway.
He said the woman had a responsibility to stop the relationship before it started, adding that many students develop “puppy love” for their educators.
Page said the fact that Nef came forward to confess her crime doesn’t undo damage done to her young victim.
It seems that in at least one instance my hope that the women would not be allowed to plead out to a lesser offense and walk out of the court free came to pass. The victim and his family wanted Nef to receive probation. The psychologist who examined Nef claimed that the convicted child rapist is not a pedophile and was not at risk for re-offense.
That may be true, however, it does not change that Nef severely damaged her victim, setting him up to be preyed on by Bowers, nor does it alter that her behavior, despite claims stating otherwise, was classic grooming behavior. Nef took advantage of a vulnerable child, and whether this was a one time thing or something she has done before or will do again does not alter her responsibility for the harm she caused.
The judge’s remark about why Nef came forward probably played a factor in his decision to sentence her to three years to life. My understanding of the Utah sentencing guidelines is that Nef will have to serve at least three years of the sentence before being released as her sentence is a modified version of Jessica’s Law, which usually carries a mandatory twenty-five to life sentence.
Some involved in the case thought the sentencing was unfair:
Attorney Greg Skordas, representing the boy and his family, urged the judge to impose probation, noting that Nef has already lost her job and her dignity. “At some point, enough is enough,” Skordas said.
It is doubtful that Skordas would say the same thing if Nef was a man, which is part of the reason why so many women who rape children walk and why so few victims come forward. When the perception is that it is enough to arrest her, charge her and tell her not to do it again, what reason do victims have to come forward? In this case, it appears that Nef came forward more to cover for herself in a bid to get a lesser sentence rather than get caught later on. That demonstrates a certain amount of apathy and pure self-interest that apparently only the judge was willing to acknowledge.
The other woman charged with raping the same boy will face her day in court on August 28th.