SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- A junior high school teacher with the Granite School District is accused of inappropriately texting a student.
Brian Fries, a Social Studies teacher at Bennion Jr. High, has since resigned.
According to charging documents, a student told school officials Fries had been texting her between March 28th and Sept. 13th this year.
“In the 168 text messages Fries sent to the minor, he repeatedly asked the minor to come and meet with him at the school when no other students would be there. He also texted her a question ‘do you want to make out?’,” charging document state.
The student told officials she was freaked out by the text, officials said. Court documents say expressed that the situation with Fries had “caused her a lot of anxiety and pain and she stopped going to school regularly due to that anxiety”. She also told officials she had a hard time with other male teachers for fear it would happen again.
Fries was officially charged on November 8th with one count of child abuse of a minor.
“A lot of people are saying ‘Why is this a child abuse charge?’…in this particular case, while there was not physical contact that was evident as part of the investigation, because of the feelings of anxiety and uncertainty and emotional distress caused by the communications, that was a more appropriate charge,” Ben Horsley, spokesperson for Granite School District explained.
Further investigation revealed Fries had been involved in a similar situation with a former student, but they did not have any contact until after she had graduated from high school and had turned 18.
During their interviews with the former student, court documents state police learned of another student at Taylorsville High School Fries had possibly been communicating with.
“[She] admitted that Fries had messaged her directly through Twitter in September 2018 and he was flirting with her by saying she was beautiful and that he has had his eye on her,” records state.
Horsley says school officials are concerned there may be other victims. If you or anyone you know has had a similar experience to please contact the school district at 801-481-7122.
You can anonymously report tips through the SafeUT app.