Tyrone Nash, a former coach at Western Heights High School, has been accused of having sex with a female student. Nash is fighting to have his case thrown out of court because his attorney said that the age of consent law is unconstitutional. Another law at the center of the legal battle includes a law that bans sexual relationships between school employees and students, according to a story in the Alva Review-Courier.
The current law would permit, for example, the judge presiding over the case, to have consensual sex with a 16-year-old female. That same law makes it illegal for Nash, or any other school employee, to have the same rights. This reason is what the defense is arguing makes the law unconstitutional.
“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 has gone as far as to admit that he was involved with the teenager in a sexual relationship at his home. He has been charged with rape, mainly because the state law bans school employees from sexual relationships with students.
“The way the law is now, it’s poorly written and unconstitutional,” Nash’s attorney, David Slane, said. Slane has asked the judge, Jerry Bass, to get rid of the current law 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.”
An attorney not associated with the case, David McKenzie, said, “The argument is absolutely absurd.” He said that the law was designed to protect students from sexual predators. He also said that he cannot see the judge ruling in favor of the defense in this case. “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.”
On Thursday, both sides made their arguments in front of the judge, who did not issue a ruling. There is no timetable set for the issuance of a ruling either, which means that Nash’s trial will probably be delayed. Nash’s trial is scheduled to begin at the end of October.