A teacher in Alabama is appealing a conviction over relationships with two students by saying that the law against teachers having sex with students is unconstitutional. A court in the state recently ruled the law unconstitutional, though an appeal on that decision is still pending.
Charli Parker, 31, is currently serving a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to sexual contact with a student.
But Parker's appeal argues that the law which prohibits school employees from having sexual contact with any student treats employees of a school differently from other professions.
Speaking to Tuscaloosa News, Parker's attorney, Virginia Buck, argued that "Alabama law does not make it a crime for members of other occupations to have consensual sex with 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds, even when there is a position of trust or authority."
"[A] 65-year-old doctor, minister, therapist, or attorney is not subject to criminal liability in Alabama for having consensual sex with a 16-year-old over whom he has authority or with whom he holds a position of trust," Buck said.
In court filings seen by the newspaper, the appeal gives the contrasting examples of a 21-year-old janitor who has sex with an 18-year-old high school senior from a different school in a different county, saying that janitor would be guilty of a felony where the hypothetical 65-year-old doctor would not. The age of consent in Alabama is 16.
Parker was jailed back in November on a plead deal that included five years' probation after her jail term. She was accused of having sexual realtaions with a student multiple times, include four times in a local cemetery.
Both her and her husband, who taught at the same school, were arrested on similar charges. 33-year-old Jamie Parker pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing in the summer.