An Alabama high school teacher was sentenced to 10 years in state prison last week, following a guilty plea to having sex with two of her students.
Carrie Cabri Witt, who is now 48 years old, will have to serve a year-and-a-half in state prison, another year-and-a-half in the community corrections program, and then the remaining time on probation.
That punishment follows a series of legal battles stretching for well over five years.
Local outlet WAAY 31 says that Witt taught history and psychology. She also coached girls’ golf and JV cheer. She was arrested in 2016 after having sex with a pair of male students. They were 17 and 18 at the time. For nearly two years, she remained on paid administrative leave. Then she resigned.
While the nature of sex scandals, especially involving teachers/students, always has a chance to go national due to their salaciousness, Witt’s case got headlines across the country after a local (now retired) judge said an Alabama law that barred school staff from having sex with students younger than 19 was unconstitutional.
Witt says the sex was consensual. Alabama law says anyone 16 or older without a specified infirmity can consent to sex. Her legal team argued state rules that prohibit sex between a student and school employee are unconstitutional. They also argued other laws are on the books to protect those who can’t consent but that those weren’t applicable in this instance.
Prosecutors argued the statute was constitutional and was needed to protect students from school staff making advances.
Alabama’s state Supreme Court returned the case to the county judiciary. Earlier in 2021, Witt entered a blind guilty plea (meaning no plea agreement was in place when she did so) to one count of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19. The other count was dismissed.
She apologized in court, according to the Decatur Daily. “I’m ashamed. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ashamed of myself,” she said. She added that since the news broke her character and “ability to be a mother” has been attacked.
That newspaper adds that one of her victims testified that he disagreed with the law that makes it illegal for school staff to have sex with students. That ex-student called the sex between them consensual and added that “the crime doesn’t fit the punishment.”
Witt could’ve gotten up to 20 years in prison. She will also be required to register as a sex offender.