On Thursday, an Alabama judge ruled that the law that bars teachers from having sex with their students is unconstitutional. This ruling led to the dismissal of charges against two people who were facing 20 years in prison for sleeping with their students.
Carrie Witt, 44, a former high school teacher and David Solomon, 27, a former aide at a different school, were both dismissed of their charges by Judge Glenn Thompson.
The state law dictates that school employees who “engage in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student” under the age of 19, even if it was consensual could be charged with a Class B felony that has up to 20 years jail time. Also, the person would be required to register as a sex offender if convicted.
Witt was accused of sleeping with students aged 17 and 18. Solomon was accused of having sex with a student that was 17.
Their defense lawyers argued that the teachers’ 14th Amendment equal protection right was violated. This law treats educators and other school employees differently from citizens. However, other adult citizens can have consensual sex with a 16-year-old and would not face criminal charges.
In the ruling, Judge Thompson wrote, “The Court finds this statute unconstitutional as applied to these defendants. In finding so, this court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the defendants. Moreover, the court does not encourage any similarly situated party to engage with impunity in what may very well be criminal behavior.”
According to the district attorney, he will appeal the ruling in Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals. From there, the losing side could appeal to the State Supreme Court.
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