Teacher accused of rape calls law “unconstitutional”

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A former high school teacher facing charges for an alleged sexual relationship with a student says Oklahoma's age of consent law is unconstitutional.

Tyrone Nash, a former Western Heights high school basketball coach and physical education teacher, filed an appeal with his attorney, David Slane, Monday afternoon at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

Slane is asking the court to prohibit Judge Jerry Bass from allowing the charges against Nash to proceed any further.

Currently, Nash's trial is set to begin May 6th.

He's facing five counts of second-degree rape and five counts of forcible oral sodomy.

Slane says the language of the law is too broad to fairly protect students from those who have real power and control over them at school, such as a student's teacher.

"We're not saying it's OK for teachers to have sex with their students," Slane said.  "What we are saying is this law is very poorly written and it shouldn't be on the books."

According to Oklahoma law, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16, unless the acts are committed by a school district employee.

A 16-year-old female student claims she had consented to several sexual acts with Nash since 2010.

"I disagree with what she's saying," Nash said Monday.  "I'm innocent.  I know that I did not do those things that she's alleging that I did."

Slane said Nash was never the girl's teacher and therefore had no power or control over her.

He said Nash passed a lie detector test saying he never had any sexual contact with her.

"I think that law is probably OK, but it needs to be 'if that school employee has some sort of authority or control over the student,' not just anybody working there," Slane said.  "There could be a janitor who works at night and doesn't have anything to do with the student.  It just, it's not narrowly tailored and that's what the law requires."

Slane said the teenager making the allegations stole Nash's phone, found out his number and started texting him before alleging she had consented to several sexual acts with him.

"If some young man had a part-time job mowing the grass at a school in the summer and there were no students there and he later met some 16-year-old girl and she consensually had sex with him, he would be guilty of rape," Slane said, "and we think this law is overreaching.  It's not written very well."

Slane said he expects a ruling before the start of the May trial.


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