A former Alabama teacher who was imprisoned after pleading guilty to having sex with two teens is appealing her conviction because she believes prohibiting sex with minors is “unconstitutional.”
The Daily Mail reported that Charli Jones Parker, 31, is appealing her conviction after a judge sentenced her to 12 years in prison in August for having sex with two of her 16-year-old male students.
As part of her guilty plea, however, the judge agreed that she would only serve three years of her sentence and five years of probation.
Parker, who taught at the private Christian school Pickens Academy in Carrolton, is arguing through her attorneys that a state law establishing criminal penalties for student-teacher sex is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause.
Her lawyers say that the current state law treats teachers differently than other professions and criminalizes “private consensual relationships,” although Alabama’s age of consent is 16, the Tuscaloosa News reported.
“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,” said Parker’s attorney Virginia Buck. “School employees have been unfairly singled out and are being sent to prison for something that, at most, might cost people their job or their license in any other profession.”
Authorities arrested Parker in 2016 and charged her with 13 counts of having a sexual relationship “with a student under the age of 19.”
Parker is accused of having sex with one of the students 11 times between October 2014 and March 2016 in a graveyard and at her home. She was also accused of having sex with another 16-year-old student at his home in June 2016.
Because the age of consent varies from state-to-state, some teachers have been accused of having sexual relationships with students as old as 18 years old.
A 22-year-old student teacher at Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut, was charged this week with sexual assault for allegedly having a consensual sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student.