Alabama high school teacher, 47, who claimed it was her constitutional right to have sex with her students is jailed for just 18 months and ordered to register as a sex offender
- Former teacher and cheer coach Carrie Witt was sentenced to 10 years for sex with a student, but much of her sentence will be served on probation
- Witt pleaded guilty in March to one count of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student
- Judge earlier dismissed charges against Witt after she argued law barring school staff from having sex with a student under 19 years old was unconstitutional
- Witt claimed her relationships with two students, ages 17 and 18, were consensual, and the 2010 law violated her right to privacy
- Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals later reversed ruling and reinstated charges against Witt
- In court on Thursday, Witt apologized and said she felt ashamed; she will spend just 18 months in state prison
A former Alabama high school teacher who previously argued that it was her constitutional right to have sex with two of her students has been sentenced to 18 months in state prison.
Carrie Witt, 47, on Thursday was handed a ten-year sentence, but will only spend a year and a half behind bars, followed by another 18 months in a community corrections program. The rest of her sentence will be served on probation.
Witt will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Former teacher and cheer coach Carrie Witt was sentenced on July 1 (pictured leaving court) to 10 years for sex with a student, but much of her sentence will be served on probation
In court on Thursday, Witt offered a tearful apology for her actions, saying, in part: ‘I’m ashamed. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ashamed of myself,’ reported Decatur Daily.
One of Witt’s former students with whom she had had sex came to her defense, telling the judge that their relationship was consensual.
Robert Tuten, Witt’s attorney, told WAAY that his client has decided to not pursue a federal appeal because of the financial and emotional toll this case has taken on her.
In March, Witt pleaded guilty to one count of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student
After the hearing, Witt appeared somber and declined to answers reporters’ questions as she was led by officers to a van to be transported to state prison, thus bringing to a close a five-year legal saga that has drawn national attention.
In late March, just hours before she was scheduled to go to trial, Witt pleaded guilty to one count of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student.
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, back in 2016.
Witt entered a ‘blind plea’ with prosecutors without reaching a sentencing agreement, allowing them to seek up to 20 years in prison for her.
Witt taught history, psychology and social studies, as well as coaching the varsity girls’ golf team and and junior varsity cheerleading at Decatur High School, 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.
Witt taught history, psychology and social studies, as well as coaching the varsity girls’ golf team and and junior varsity cheerleading at Decatur High School
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.
Witt claimed 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.
In 2017, a judge dismissed charges against Witt after she argued that a 2010 law barring school staff from having sex with a student under 19 years old was unconstitutional
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 filed an appeal and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the ruling and reinstated the charges against Witt.
She was put on administrative leave with pay by Decatur High School and resigned in April 2018 after collecting more than $116,000 from the school district.