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Teacher Pleads Guilty to Having Sex with Student After Arguing She Had Constitutional Right to Do So

A former Alabama teacher who was accused of having sex with two high school students has pleaded guilty to a felony.

Carrie Witt, 47, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19. Prosecutors dismissed a second count, PEOPLE confirms.

Witt was a teacher at Decatur High School in Decatur, Alabama. She was arrested in March 2016 and charged with having sex with two students, ages 17 and 18.

After her arrest, Witt's attorneys argued that she had a constitutional right to have sex with the students. Under Alabama law, anyone over 16 without a specified infirmity is capable of consenting to sex.

Her attorneys argued in court filings that state statutes which prohibit a school employee from having sex with a student are unconstitutional. They argued that there are other laws to protect people who are incapable of consent because of age, mental impairment, physical incapacity and in cases of coercion or fraud — but that none of those stipulations applied in the case.

But prosecutors disagreed, arguing that the statute was constitutional and was necessary to protect high school students from sexual advances by teachers and other school employees.

According to court documents accessed by PEOPLE, a judge refused to dismiss the case, and Witt was scheduled to stand trial on Monday. Hours before trial, she pleaded guilty and admitted to the crime. She will be sentenced on July 1. She faces up to 20 years in prison, and must register as a sex offender.

"We're glad that it's resolved, that it's done," Morgan County Assistant District Attorney Courtney Schellack told the Decatur Daily. "This has been a long case. It's been a long process and we're just glad it's done for the community and the victims in the case."

Witt's attorneys did not immediately return PEOPLE's message for comment.

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