Alabama judge: It's not against the law for teachers to sleep with students

BY KYLE BATES
Posted on JUL 23, 2019

The judge accordingly dismissed charges against two former high-school instructors who were facing possible prison time for becoming physically intimate with students at their schools.

An Alabama judge ruled that his state's laws barring teachers from having sex with students are unconstitutionalprovided that the students are of legal age. The judge accordingly dismissed charges against two former high-school instructors who were facing possible prison time for becoming physically intimate with students at their schools.

Judge Glenn Thompson was hearing the case of former high-school teacher Carrie Witt and David Solomon, an aide who worked at a different school. Witt was accused of sleeping with two studentsone 18 years old and one 17 years oldwhile Solomon was accused of sex with a 17-year-old student.
Alabama's age of consent is 16, but state law forbids adult school employees from "engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student" even if the student is 17 or older. Those who violate the law can incur jail time and a lifetime on the sex-offender registry.

Thompson stated that the law is unfairly written. It should take into account whether the sex was consensual and whether the teachers or aides had any power or authority that they used to groom or coerce the students into sexand in this case, neither defendant did, he explained.

"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," Thompson wrote. "If no such position of authority is alleged, the defendant must be permitted to show consent as a defense."

Prosecutors said that they will appeal Thompson's ruling to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals. Whoever loses in that court could take the case to the State Supreme Court.

Teacher-student sexual relationships remain illegal, even when the students are of legal age, in many other states. Washington, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut all expressly outlaw them, and New Jersey enacted a new law prohibiting them in 2015