Human Interest

Reprieve Fleeting in Consensual Teenage Sex Case

June 18, 2007 11:16 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A ruling that overturned a 10-year sentence for Genarlow Wilson, who had oral sex with a 15-year-old 2 years his junior, is blocked within hours by Georgia’s top prosecutor.

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In 2005, Genarlow Wilson was found guilty of having oral sex with an underage girl at a 2003 New Year’s Eve party, when he was 17. He has since served 28 months in prison for aggravated child molestation, a crime carrying a 10-year minimum sentence.

The sentence is particularly contentious, because under Georgia State law if Wilson had engaged in penetrative sex with the girl, the maximum sentence would have been 12 months.

The law has now changed, so that were Wilson sentenced for the same crime now, he could serve no more than one year. But that amendment was not retroactive.

In the light of that legal development, Wilson’s attorney argued that the 10-year sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. A judge concurred on June 11, ruling that Wilson’s conviction should be reduced to a misdemeanor. But Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker has appealed the ruling.

Wilson remains in jail. The case will now go to the state Supreme Court.

Wilson and five other defendants were originally indicted when a 17-year-old girl accused them of raping her. All six men were acquitted of rape, but the investigation unearthed a video of Wilson having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.

That girl has never denied giving her consent. 

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