Judge: AL's teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional

Published: Aug. 10, 2017 at 9:08 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2017 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A Morgan County judge has ruled Alabama's teacher-student sex law unconstitutional.

Thursday's ruling is in regards to a case involving a former teacher at Decatur High School and a former aide at Falkville High School. Both educators are accused of having sex with 17-year-old students.

In the order, the judge challenged Alabama's law which says an educator cannot engage in a sex act with a student under age 19 when the state's legal age of consent is 16.

The judge says the law embeds an "irrebuttable presumption" that any sexual encounter between an employee of any school and any student in the state is the result of a misuse of authority.

The judge in his ruling also cited laws from other states which make it a requirement for the educator to be in a direct position of authority over the student or be enrolled in the same school where the educator is employed.

Alabama's law does not have these requirements and that's why the judge says Alabama's law is too broad. We spoke with both a defense attorney and a prosecutor and they both agree with the judge's order. Defense attorney Roger Appell states, "After reading the decision I have changed my mind I am firmly convinced that the court will affirm this decision. It is a well written well thought out decision and I believe the statute as drawn is unconstitutional."

"I understand the judge's ruling I just think that probably when it all shakes out I think the state will go out and be a little more detailed in what they are alleging,"Bill Veitch a Prosecutor Jefferson County said

Alabama Attorney General is planning to appeal this but it could require changes in the legislature. "The governor is either going to have to get a special session to put a new law in or they are going to have to wait until the next legislators meeting which will be in February to pass a new law," Appell explained.

Read the court ruling below:

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