Judge: AL's teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional
13 August, 2017, 10:12
In a very shocking news an Alabama law barring teachers from making or getting sexual with their students was ruled unconstitutional.
Decatur High School history teacher Carrie Witt, 44, was charged with having sex with a male student who was 17 when the relationship started, and another male student who was 18.
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.
In April of this month, a former 30-year-old female teacher from Alabama pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with three high school students.
"In finding so, this court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the defendants", wrote Thompson. The 27-year-old from of Huntsville was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old Hartselle student while he was working at Falkville High.
Until the ruling goes up for appeal, it will not be binding for other cases in the state. Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson on Thursday dismissed both charges without prejudice, which means the state can still refile, WHNT reported.
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It was said by a state judge who also dismissed charges against two instructors who were facing 20 years in prison convicted of having sexual relations with their students. "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".
While other courts can consider the decision in similar cases, Anderson said Thompson's ruling will not directly affect cases in other counties.
Witt was a cheerleading coach prior to the charges.
Prosecutors must prove a teacher use his or her "position of authority" to "coerce, groom, or otherwise obtain the illegitimate consent of the alleged victims".
Thompson cited student-teacher sex laws in other states that he believes are constitutional. Those laws either implicitly address sex between students and employees who exercise power over them, or students and employees at the same school. Although a teacher may be in a position of authority, the judge found that it "clearly does not exist between every school employee and every student regardless of where that student is enrolled".
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