LOGAN — A man who was twice named teacher of the year at an elementary school was sent to prison for sexually abusing a student in the 1990s.
At trial, defense attorney Wally Bugden said improperly touching a student during class was as improbable as "witches on broomsticks." But the tone was different Monday as Alan Willey apologized to the victim, who was a fourth-grade student at Wilson Elementary in 1993-94.
"He has begun the process of accepting responsibility," Bugden said. "He has acknowledged that he touched (the boy). He has acknowledged that it was for sexual arousal."
Willey, 53, was sentenced to a year to 15 years in prison.
A jury in June found him guilty of seven second-degree felony charges, one for each month of abuse. It was Willey's second trial after a different jury deadlocked 4-4 in November.
Willey had worked as a teacher in Utah since 1979. He taught at Edith Bowen, Wilson and Hillcrest elementary schools in Logan and also in St. George.
"Mr. Willey has been shuttled from one place to another when these problems arise. This court is not willing to do that," 1st District Judge Clint Judkins replied when Bugden asked that his client be sent to a rehabilitation center, not prison.
The victim, now 23, was satisfied with the apology.
"It's what we've been hoping for," he said. "More than the sentence, it's about admitting he's done something wrong."