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Appeals court reverses ruling that calls Alabama teacher-student sex ban unconstitutional

DECATUR, Ala. — Two criminal cases have been sent back to Morgan County Circuit Court. An appeals court reversed a judge’s decision that found Alabama’s law banning sex between a teacher and a student unconstitutional.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the cases of Carrie Cabri Witt and David Thomas Solomon after Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson dismissed indictments against them.

Witt was facing potential prison time for allegedly having sex with two students between 16 and 19 years old while she taught at Decatur High School. Solomon, a former Falkville High School teacher’s aide, was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson noted in his ruling that students can consent to sex under state law once they turn 16, unless someone uses  a “position of authority” to “coerce, groom, or otherwise obtain the illegitimate consent of the alleged victims.”

The judge found that while there may be a gap in power between teacher and student, it “clearly does not exist between every school employee and every student regardless of where that student is enrolled.”

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.”