Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Morgan judge dismisses sex-with-student cases; appeal planned

Morgan judge dismisses sex-with-student cases; appeal planned

Two Alabama teachers accused of having sex with students had their charges dismissed by a judge who declared the state's teacher-student sex law unconstitutional.

Thompson explained in writing that because of how the law is written, it makes it hard for courts to determine if both parties were consenting adults, if the teacher or school employee were in positions of authority over the students and whether the teacher or school employee abused their power to coerce or groom students, or to obtain illegitimate 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.

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". Solomon is a former contract teacher at Falkville High School accused of having sex with a 17-year-old Falkville High student.

The court noted that the State has an abiding interest in protecting people from being preyed on by someone in authority over them, such as teachers, wardens, clergy members and psychologists.

Derek Wolfe carted out of practice with apparent serious leg injury
Wolfe's injury comes less than 48 hours after defensive end Billy Winn suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Bears. He missed all of last season with a knee injury suffered in training camp last season while going against Russell Okung.

"This court acknowledges that a disparity of power may inherently exist in a teacher/student relationship, but it clearly does not exist in every school employee and every student regardless of where that student is enrolled", wrote the judge. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall plans to appeal the decision. 44-year-old Carrie Witt had her charges dismissed without prejudice on constitutional grounds on Thursday.

No one is yet sure how the ruling will affect similar cases that have already been prosecuted.

"Until the appellate courts have addresses the issue, I think it will depend on how individual judges rule on the law", Anderson said. And if convicted, an offender would face up to 20 years in prison and be forced to become a registered sex offender.

Thompson in a 5-page ruling wrote the law forbidding sexual activity between consenting ages was too broad, adding the prosecution most prove the teacher was in a position of authority over her students if they want charges to stick, according to the news station.

"Solomon was pursuing a career in teaching and knew this behavior was unacceptable", McDearmond said.

Like this: