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Ex-teacher given up to life in prison for sex with student
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fillmore -- The father looked at Keith Gillins, his daughter's former teacher, and said he would never forgive him.

"My daughter's life has been scarred forever by you," the father told Gillins.

Then, the father addressed the people in Millard County who suggested his daughter was responsible: "Shame on you."

Gillins on Wednesday received three sentences of three years to life in prison for a sexual relationship with a former Millard High School student. Fourth District Court Judge Donald Eyre also sentenced Gillins to two terms of 1 to 15 years in prison. All five counts will run concurrently and include charges filed in both Juab and Millard counties.

The Salt Lake Tribune typically does not identify victims of sex crimes.

Gillins' defense attorney, Jim Slavens, argued for a one-year jail sentence and probation. Slavens made legal arguments, but also pointed to Gillins' history in Fillmore. Gillins, 61, is a long-time teacher who also coached the Millard High boys basketball team to its only state championship. He was Fillmore's mayor for 12 years and an LDS bishop in the town.

Besides losing his position in the community, Gillins was divorced by his wife of 41 years and won't be allowed to teach again.

The Juab and Millard county attorneys and the victim's family asked for prison time. Juab County Attorney Jared Eldridge disclosed Gillins recently admitted to fondling a Beaver High School student when he was a teacher there about 35 years ago.

Gillins cultivated a relationship with the Millard High student and offered her a teaching assistant position in the school, Eldridge said. "This is a pattern that occurred over months," he said.

Gillins also sought to portray the relationship as romantic rather than abusive, Eldridge said.

The victim attended the hearing but did not speak. But Heidi Nestel, a lawyer retained by the victim's family, read aloud from a letter by the victim. "He is a sick, sick man and I hate him," Nestel read.

Gillins, shackled and wearing an orange jumpsuit, leaned forward to watch Nestel and the father speak but showed no reaction. Eldridge said the girl, now 18, postponed college because of Gillins and left town when he was free on bail.

Gillins was the last to address the judge and apologized to the victim, her family, his family, the town, and educators and coaches across the state. "After this day, she [the victim] will never, ever hear from me again," Gillins said.

In explaining his ruling, Eyre noted Gillins had contacted the victim despite a court order and said there were three instances of sex or sexual contact with the girl in Gillins' classroom.

"When parents send their children to school, when I send my children to school, it's supposed to be a place of refuge," Eyre said.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">ncarlisle@sltrib.com

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