OKLAHOMA CITY — A former high school coach accused of having sex with a female student fights to have his case dismissed.
The suspect’s attorney said the state’s age of consent law is unconstitutional.
The controversial legal fight centers on a state law banning sexual relationships between students and school employees.
The former educator accused of breaking that law, Tyrone Nash, allegedly carried on a sexual relationship with a female student at Western Heights high school.
Thursday Nash asked the court to overturn state law.
Under the current law, it would be legal for the judge in the case to have consensual sex with a 16-year-old girl, but Nash, as a former school employee, may not have the same right.
That’s why the defense said the law should be unconstitutional.
Nash now sees himself as the victim of state law.
“As teachers we have to protect ourselves,” he said. “It’s not fair for students have all the power and teachers are not able to protect themselves.”
Nash is accused of carrying on a consensual sexual relationship with the teen student at his home.
Nash is charged with rape because, although state statute mandates a 16-year-old is old enough to consent to sex, the state prohibits any school employees from having sex with students.
“The way the law is now, it’s poorly written and unconstitutional,” Nash’s attorney, David Slane, said.
Slane wants Judge Jerry Bass to throw out the law in question and have it rewritten.
“They should make it specific to a person that has to have authority,” Slane said. “They just said ‘any employee.’ It could be a crossing guard or somebody who cuts the grass. They don’t have any authority.”
“The argument is absolutely absurd,” attorney David McKenzie said.
Attorney McKenzie isn’t involved in Nash’s case but said the law’s intent is clearly to protect students from sexual predators.
He said he sees no way judge Bass would rule in the defense’s favor.
“It has a rational basis in the law and the motion is absurd, as I said,” McKenzie said.
“People have the right to engage in sexual activity once they are of the age of consent,” Slane said. “They have the right to consent. That’s the argument we’re making.”
Both sides made their arguments Thursday but the judge did not make any decisions.
Whatever he rules, both sides will appeal to the court of criminal appeals.
That means that Nash’s trial, set for the end of the month, is almost certain to be delayed.