Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson has dismissed all charges against two school employees in North Alabama for having sex with students. Decatur High School teacher Carrie Witt was brought up on charges in March of 2016 for having sex with students of the High School where she worked. The other case involving David Solomon, a former aide at Falkville High, was also dismissed. Both cases will likely have an affect on rulings in future cases and might well set a precedent going forward.
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Judge Thompson said in his ruling, "The Court finds this statute unconstitutional as applied to these defendants." Thompson also wrote in the order, "In finding so, this court does not endeavor to absolve any wrongdoing or to excuse the defendants. Moreover, the court does not encourage any similarly situated party to engage with impunity in what may very well be criminal behavior." The law in Alabama prohibits any school employees from having sex with students when they are less than 19 years old and is a Class B felony that can carry up to 20 years in prison. Former High School teacher Carrie Witt was brought up on charges for having sex with two teenagers, one who was 17 and the other who was 18. David Solomon, 27, was charged for having sex with a 17-year-old student while working at the High School. Both defendants would have had to register as sex offenders if convicted and consent is not considered a defense as the law currently stands.
Judge Thompson decided that consent should indeed be a defense saying, "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." Laws vary from state to state but it is widely considered illegal for teachers to have sex with students even with consent because of the potential cohesion stemming from one parties position of authority as a teacher or school employee. It is relieving to see that both of these cases received the same verdict because a double standard is all too common across crimes involving sex with students. In many cases, female teachers are simply slapped on the wrist for having sex with male students while male teachers are often given maximum sentences for having sex with female students. It is refreshing to see an equal verdict and not preferential treatment of one sex over the other.