Alabama judge declares law criminalizing teacher-student sex unconstitutional

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 at Decatur High

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 at Decatur High

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.

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.

On Thursday, Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson sided with the defense's long-standing argument and dismissed Witt's case on the basis that her arrest wasn't constitutional to begin with.

Defendants were thus allowed to use consent as their defense if they did not use power to engage in sex with the students. State prosecutors have argued the law is constitutional and created to protect students.

Thompson wrote that, in finding the law unconstitutional as applied to the defendants, "this Court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the Defendants". Similarly, David Solomon, 27, was an aide at another school when he allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old student.

While other courts can consider the decision in similar cases, Anderson said Thompson's ruling will not directly affect cases in other counties. According to this if an other person not from the teaching grounds having consensual sex with teenagers over 16, don't face criminal charges. At the time not only was she a teacher, she was also girls' golf and junior varsity cheer coach.

Thompson wrote that while the state has a legitimate goal 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.

Witt was charged with two counts of a school employee having sex with a student.

At the hearing, Tuten told Thompson the law is so broad it would make it illegal for a janitor in one school to have sex with a student over the age of 16 in another school. Those include laws in Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.

In 2010, Alabama lawmakers made sex between a teacher and a student who is under the age of 19 a crime.

The judge found that while there may be a gap in power between teacher and student, it "clearly does not exist between every school employee and every student regardless of where that student is enrolled".

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