Carrie Witt former Decatur Alabama High School teacher pleads guilty to sex act with student after previously saying law was unconstitutional.
A former Alabama teacher and cheerleading coach who previously argued that a state law barring school staff from having sex with students younger than 19 was unconstitutional has now admitted her guilt.
Carrie Witt, 47, a former educator at Decatur High School, on Monday entered a plea of guilty to one count of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student WHNT reported.
In exchange for her plea, Morgan County prosecutors agreed to drop a second charge against Witt, who was initially accused of having sex with two boys, ages 17 and 18.
‘We’re glad that it’s resolved, that it’s done,’ Morgan County Assistant District Attorney Courtney Schellack told Decatur Daily. ‘It’s been a long process and we’re just glad it’s done for the community and the victims in the case.’
Witt was scheduled to go on trial on Monday, but instead entered a ‘blind plea’ with prosecutors without reaching a sentencing agreement with them, which will allow them to seek whatever sentence they see fit.
Can a teacher having sex with students under the age of 19 ever be constitutional?
‘And in this case, we believe that prison time is more than appropriate,’ Schellack said.
The woman faces up to 20 years in state prison and will be required to register as a sex offender when she is sentenced on July 1.
Witt taught history, psychology and social studies, as well as coaching the varsity girls’ golf team and and junior varsity cheerleading at Decatur HS, when in March 2016 she was charged with having sexual contact with two students, who were 17 and 18, respectively, at the time of the encounters.
In 2017, a judge dismissed the charges against Witt after her lawyers successfully argued that a 2010 law, that made it a felony for a school employee to have sex with a student under 19 years old, was unconstitutional.
But what if the genders were reversed?
Witt argued that she was in a consensual relationship with the students, and that she was only prosecuted for being a school employee, which violated her 14th Amendment right to privacy and equal protection.
Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson said the court found the statute ‘unconstitutional’ and that there was no proof Witt used her position of authority to force the two students to have sex.
Which is to wonder, had the genders been reversed and a male teacher claimed that sex with a female student ought not be prohibited, on the proviso that they too did not use their position of authority, trust and power to subjugate their teen victim — would a court have ruled similarly?
The judge noted that Alabama state law allows students to legally have sex at age 16, as long as someone doesn’t use their position of authority to obtain that consent.
Prosecutors appealed and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the ruling and reinstated the charges against Witt. In its decision, the appeals court held that the ban on prohibiting school employees having sex with students 19 and younger existed to protect children, kids and the school systems.
The Assistant DA noted Witt, despite insisting she had the student’s consent, still broke the law because she was able to use her person of position, authority and power and trust to ‘engage’ her victims.
She was put on administrative leave with pay by Decatur High School and resigned in April 2018.
Witt is scheduled to be sentenced July 1.