A Utah judge has ordered a teacher accused of sex with students to stand separate trials for each case.
Brianne Altice, 35, is charged with sexually abusing three male students at Davis High School in Kaysville. She was first arrested in October 2013, after authorities learned she allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old student.
Charges against Altice piled up over the following months as additional victims came forward. She now faces more than a dozen felony charges stemming from her alleged conduct with the boys.
At a hearing March 26, one of the teacher's alleged victims, now 18, testified that he'd had sex with Altice after she bailed out of jail on sex abuse and rape charges in October 2013. Following that development, Altice's defense asked a judge to split the cases into separate trials -- one for each victim. She pleaded not guilty in two of the cases, maintaining she did not abuse her position of power as a teacher.
Prosecutors wanted to bundle the cases into one trial, but the defense successfully argued that trying the cases together would be prejudicial to Altice, according to Fox 13 Salt Lake City. The judge sided with the defense on Monday, saying that there was enough evidence in the case to warrant splitting the trials.
There's a mountain of evidence against the teacher, who was fired from her job teaching English in the wake of the allegations. Prosecutors said Altice communicated with her victims through text messages, and sent at least one of them photos of her breasts.
Testifying in January, one of the victims, who was 17 at the time, said he knew Altice was having sex with other boys, but that he considered her a girlfriend. He described having oral sex and intercourse with the teacher between November 2013 and September 2014.
On the stand, the teen stole glances at Altice, and said "she didn't deserve" to be on trial. He said he felt bad when he found out she was arrested.
In September 2014 testimony, a different victim called Altice a "teacher with benefits."
Other students at the high school were shocked by the allegations against the popular English teacher.
"She always wanted to be liked," Davis High School student Kylee Carroll said in 2013. "I just didn't think that she would ever do something like this."
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