A former Alabama teacher is accused of sexually abusing a former student who says that the teacher told her a slew of things to get her into bed.
The victim filed a federal lawsuit against Joe Petrey, who taught her when she was a freshman and again when she was a junior. In the suit, the woman alleges that the educator told her he dreamed about her and that “God told him to tell her she was beautiful,” AL.com reports. The victim, who is identified in the suit as A.W., is challenging on the basis of the Title IX statute as well, saying that officials in the school knew about the abuse and did nothing.
A.W. says that she confessed to Petrey that she was sexually abused as a child, and in 2014, he took her to an Olive Garden for dinner, and they began having sex following that encounter. They were reportedly intimate for the next year and a half.
The suit alleges that dance teachers (not associated with the school) found out about the relationship and called administrators, who dragged their feet in beginning an investigation. Further, A.W. claims that school officials did not do enough “to protect students from a sexual predator like Petrey even after being notified that something inappropriate was occurring.” Petrey resigned around the same time that photographs of he and the student began circulating on the internet.
But, Petrey’s lawyer is fighting back, arguing that the 2010 teacher-student sex law is unconstitutional. He says it’s “terribly vague”— Alabama’s current law allows educators to have intercourse with students over 16 as long as the student is not enrolled in the school where they teach.