Teachers are meant to guide, mold, be a positive influence, and nurture young and growing minds for students at school. But this 47-year-old ex-teacher from Alabama used her power as an instructor to have sex with two of her students. She was a teacher of history, psychology, and social studies, also coached girls’ golf and junior varsity cheer. She was arrested for allegedly having sex with two male students. Reports suggest that one student was 17 and the other 18 when she engaged in sexual relationships with them. At the time, Witt’s attorneys argued that she had a constitutional right to have sex with the students.
The reason behind their argument is because anyone over the age of 16 without a specified infirmity is capable of consenting to sex under Alabama law. At the time, she claimed it was a consensual relationship with the students. She then went on to argue that the prosecution violated her 14th Amendment right to privacy and equal protection.
Back then, Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson —who is now retired— said that a state law created in 2010 that prohibits school employees from having sex with students under 19 was unconstitutional.
However, the state appealed the judge’s ruling, thus causing the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse it and ordered that the charges be reinstated against Witt. Now, in March 2021, she has pleaded guilty to one count of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19. A second count has reportedly been dismissed by the prosecutors.
“We’re glad that it’s resolved, that it’s done,” Morgan County Assistant District Attorney Courtney Schellack said. “This has been a long case, between getting it dismissed by Judge Thompson and going to the Court of Criminal Appeals and bringing it back [to Circuit Court]. It’s been a long process, and we’re just glad it’s done for the community and the victims in the case.”
Witt did not negotiate a sentence, and her “blind plea” allows prosecutors “to argue what we think a proper sentence should be,” District Attorney Scott Anderson revealed. “And in this case, we believe that prison time is more than appropriate,” he said. “We think it’s appropriate not only as punishment for this defendant and her actions, we think it’s appropriate to deter anyone in the future from violating this law.”
Witt will be sentenced on July 1. If convicted, she will face up to 20 years in jail. In addition, she will also have to register as a sex offender.