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Teacher Looking To Overturn Law Prohibiting Teachers From Having Sex With Students Has Finally Gotten Judge’s Ruling

Carrie Witt

An Alabama teacher charged with having sex with a studentsought to have the law overturned that prohibits consensual sex between students and teachers.

An Alabama judge denied that request.

Morgan County District Judge Brent Craig issued a two-page ruling Friday denying a motion that sought to make the state’s student-teacher sex law unconstitutional. Specifically, the law prohibits a school employee from engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19.

Attorneys for Carrie Witt, Robert Tuten and Nick Heatherly, filed the motion earlier in the month. Witt, 42, taught history, psychology and social studies teacher at Decatur High and was also the school’s girls’ golf coach and junior varsity cheerleaders coach. She was arrested in March and charged with having sexual relations with two male students, who were 17 at the time of the incident, police said.

Similar cases seeking to overturn the law are pending in Tuscaloosa and Blount counties.

“Constitutional liberties may be restrained when the state has a legitimate interest in doing so,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “The classic example is, while American citizens enjoy the freedom of speech, one cannot yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Freedom of speech can be restricted.”

Judge Craig also cited a ruling in a Minnesota case that said, “The State has a strong and legitimate interest in the welfare of its young citizens, whose immaturity, inexperience, and lack of judgment may sometimes impair their ability to exercise their rights wisely.”

Craig wrote that the state should protect the “sacredness” of the school setting.

Witt is scheduled for a May 3 preliminary hearing before Craig on her criminal charge.

 

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