Court reverses Columbia County teacher sex ruling

In a 5-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals involving the issue of consent and a Columbia County teacher who was 28 when she was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old girl.

The Court of Appeals had upheld the Richmond County Superior Court’s ruling against Melissa Lee Chase, who was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years on probation.

“This appeal presents a straightforward question of law,” says today’s majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. “The question is whether, in November 2006, consent of the alleged victim was a defense.”

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court ruled it was a defense that should have been allowed at trial.



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