North Alabama judge rules state law banning teacher-student sex is unconstitutional

Decatur teacher accused of sex with students gets charges thrown out as unconstitutional

A judge in the #State Of Alabama has ruled that the Alabama state law that criminalizes school teachers engaging in #sex with students is unconstitutional.

In other words, prosecutors have to prove that Witt "was actually in a position of authority over the victim/student and that the position of authority was abused to obtain consent".

Though the age of consent is 16 in Alabama, a law was passed in 2010 that made it a felony for a school employee to have sex with a student under 19 years old.

Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson says that he disagrees with the ruling and that Attorney General Steve Marshall will appeal.

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In March 2016, police arrested Witt after it was uncovered that she had sexual relations with students age 17 and 18.

"In finding so, this court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the defendants", wrote Thompson.

In yet another case in the state of Alabama, a teacher was charged with engaging in sex with a student aged 17 years. "Moreover, the court does not encourage any similarly situated party to engage with impunity in what may very well be criminal behavior". Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson on Thursday dismissed both charges without prejudice, which means the state can still refile, WHNT reported. 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. And if convicted, an offender would face up to 20 years in prison and be forced to become a registered sex offender. Consent is not a defense. "If no such position of authority is alleged, the defendant must be permitted to show consent as a defense". However, it is not confirmed that how the ruling will affect similar cases that have already been prosecuted. At the time not only was she a teacher, she was also girls' golf and junior varsity cheer coach.

"The statute at hand embeds an irrebuttable presumption that any sexual encounter between an employee of any school and any student (without qualification as to class, school, or school system) is conclusively the result of misuse of authority", the judge wrote. Those laws either implicitly address sex between students and employees who exercise power over them, or students and employees at the same school.

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