An Alabama judge has overturned a law which made teachers having sex with their students who were under 19 illegal.
From Biz Pac Review:
Teacher/student relationships in the State of Alabama just got a lot more complicated after a judge overturned as unconstitutional a state law banning sex between school employees and students under 19.
In cases involving 44-year-old former high school teacher Carrie Witt, accused of sex with two students who were 17 and 18 at the time, and 27-year-old teachers aide David Solomon, accused of sex with a 17-year-old student, Morgan County Circuit Court Judge Glenn Thompson ruled that the statute under which they were accused violated the equal protection rights of citizens, according to AL.com.
The law would have required the teachers to register as sex offenders and exposed them to up to 20 years in prison.
The judge’s point is that if they were of age able to give consent, i.e. over 16, then that could be employed as a defense.
The key for Judge Thompson, however, was the fact that the law specifies that legal consent doesn’t matter, even if the person was of legal age – which is 16 in Alabama.
“It is this court’s finding that the law grants these students the capacity to consent until and unless there is some showing that authority was used to obtain illegitimate or coerced consent,” wrote Judge Thompson in the decision. “If no such position of authority is alleged, the defendant must be permitted to show consent as a defense.”
He found the law unconstitutional because it removes consideration of consent.
The only way it would be illegal according to the judge them would be if prosecutors could prove a teacher used his or her “position of authority” to “coerce, groom, or otherwise obtain the illegitimate consent of the alleged victims.”
This, of course, wouldn’t stop a school from making the practice improper under their own rules.
But now it’s no longer illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student if he/she is over the age of consent in Alabama…