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Judge Overturns Alabama Sex Law

Judge Overturns Alabama Sex Law

An Alabama teacher accused of having sex with two students saw charges against her dismissed on the grounds that they're unconstitutional.

Thompson's ruling also dismissed a case against David Solomon, a Falkville High School teacher's aide charged last year with having sex with a 17-year-old female student.

Thompson in his ruling noted the "Court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing", but said it's an overstep to immediately deny all possibilities of a consensual relationship. "Moreover, the court does not encourage any similarly situated party to engage with impunity in what may very well be criminal behavior".

Judges have been asked to dismiss the charges based on unconstitutionality in other cases, but they have declined to do so. Witt is a former teacher at Decatur High School who was arrested in March 2016 for allegedly having sex with two Decatur High students, one 17 and one 18. Violation of the law carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. The law also requires they register as sex offenders if convicted. Consent is not a defense to the law, al.com reported. The law treats teachers and other school employees differently from other citizens, the attorneys argue in court records. State prosecutors have argued the law is constitutional and created to protect students.

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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". "If no such position of authority is alleged, the defendant must be permitted to show consent as a defense". The judge who handed the case ruled that "current laws protect vulnerable people such as those who are mentally incapacitated and minors". The judge said there was no testimony or evidence presented at the hearing where the court heard arguments on the law's constitutionality.

She convinced Circuit Court Judge Glen Thompson that in Alabama the age of consent is 16 and that police never had accused her of having used her position to coerce the students into having a sexual relationship.

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.


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