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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Prosecutors have dropped a case against a teacher accused of exchanging sexually explicit texts with a 13-year-old student, alleging that an appeals court ruling found them to be protected speech.

The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office dropped the case against Sean Arlis Williams, a junior high teacher in the suburb of Everman. DA's spokeswoman Melody McDonald told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the decision resulted from an October ruling by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. That court ruled a state law against sexually explicit online communication between adult and minor violated First Amendment free speech rights.

The ruling came in the case of a Houston man accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a student. His attorney, Mark Bennett of Houston, argued the statute was too broad.

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