Judge Overturns Alabama Sex Law

Charges dismissed in two teacher-student sex cases

Charges dismissed in two teacher-student sex cases

In a very shocking news an Alabama law barring teachers from making or getting sexual with their students was ruled unconstitutional.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson issued the ruling Thursday that, at least for now, will keep former Decatur High School teacher Carrie Witt and David Solomon, an ex-aide at Falkville High School, from facing charges.

The Decatur Daily reports that Thompson ruled prosecutors must prove that a school employee was in a position of authority over a student and abused that position to obtain consent.

In the order, the judge challenged Alabama's law which says an educator can not engage in a sex act with a student under age 19 when the state's legal age of consent is 16. It is one of two high schools in the Decatur City School District.

Thompson hedged his ruling, however, by saying it does not excuse the defendants' conduct. Solomon was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old. "If that is the case they can not charge (her) with a crime". The court said the Kansas law bars sexual relationships between students and teachers or other school officials when the student is enrolled at the school. "By eliminating the requirement that the state show a position of authority, grooming, abuse, coercion, or lack of consent, the state criminalizes behaviors outside the state's legitimate goal".

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However, the law is harsher on teachers and school employees than other citizens, who do not face criminal prosecution for having sex with 16-year-olds. Violation of the law carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

Prior to the sex allegations, Witt taught history, psychology and social studies, as well as coaching the varsity girls' golf team and and junior varsity cheerleading.

Thompson wrote that while the state has a legitimate objective in protecting certain classes of people, like students, prisoners and patients from being coerced by teachers, wardens or doctors, the law doesn't narrowly address that issue.

Thompson cited student-teacher sex laws in other states that he believes are constitutional.

"The court acknowledges that a disparity of power may inherently exist in a teacher/student relationship, but it clearly does not exist between every school employee and student regardless of where the student is enrolled", the judge wrote.

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