A judge says Alabama's law barring any school employee from having sex with any student is overbroad and unconstitutional.
The case involved two separate individuals and three separate incidents: Carrie Witt, a 44-year-old former teacher at Decatur High School who banged two of her students, and 27-year-old David Solomon, a contract teacher at Falkville High School who slept with one of his charges.
"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", he wrote.
In the order, the judge challenged Alabama's law which says an educator can not engage in a sex act with a student under age 19 when the state's legal age of consent is 16.
"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", Thompson wrote.
The court held that prosecutors must prove a school employee "was actually in a position of authority over the victim/student and that the position of authority was abused to obtain consent".More news: Rochester Hills woman killed by hippo on African safari
Alabama Attorney General is planning to appeal this but it could require changes in the legislature. Furthermore, Thompson said that there was no proof Witt used her position of authority to force the two students to have sex.
Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson on Thursday dismissed both charges without prejudice, which means the state can still refile, WHNT reported.
However, the law is harsher on teachers and school employees than other citizens, who do not face criminal prosecution for having sex with 16-year-olds.
While other courts can consider the decision in similar cases, Anderson said Thompson's ruling will not directly affect cases in other counties. The judge said there was no testimony or evidence presented at the hearing where the court heard arguments on the law's constitutionality. "It is a well written well thought out decision and I believe the statute as drawn is unconstitutional". Violation of the law carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.
According to Alabama State Law, it is illegal for any school employee to engage in sexual behavior with a student under the age of 19.