A judge has dropped sex charges against two school employees, saying the state law is overbroad and unconstitutional.
Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson dismissed charges against 44-year-old Carrie Witt and 27-year-old David Solomon yesterday. Witt is a former teacher at Decatur High School who was arrested in March 2016 for allegedly having sex with two Decatur High students, one 17 and one 18. Solomon is a former contract teacher at Falkville High School accused of having sex with a 17-year-old Falkville High student.
State law prohibits any school employees from having sex with students who are younger than 19, and consent is not a factor. Violation of the law carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. But according to the Decatur Daily, Thompson ruled prosecutors have to prove that a school employee was in a position of authority over a student and also abused that position to obtain sexual consent. Witt’s attorney argued the two students Witt is accused of having sex of were not under her direct authority and were older than 16, Alabama’s age of consent.
Thompson hedged his ruling, however, by saying it does not excuse the defendants' conduct. He writes: "...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."
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson says he disagrees with the ruling. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall plans to appeal the decision.