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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Genarlow Wilson

The biggest news story in my circle is that of Genarlow Wilson. Genarlow Wilson — sentenced to 10 years in prison for consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 — has become a cause célèbre, the unlikely figure at the center of a national struggle over competing views of justice.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has come to his defense. So has former President Jimmy Carter. So has the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Wilson's supporters have portrayed a young man with good grades, college aspirations and no criminal history, tripped up by a rigid law that criminalized adolescent recklessness. The severe sentence — mandated by a Georgia law since revised — has been dissected in national media and discussed in countless blog posts and e-mails, all denouncing a criminal justice system that would mete out 10 years in prison for teenage behavior that was foolish but hardly malevolent.

On the other side of this morality tale are prosecutors and legislators who insist that they are defending young girls who were misused by a gang of drug-addled, predatory young men. Douglas County District Attorney David McDade is furious that he has been painted as a racist, incensed over "disinformation" he says has mangled the facts of the case.

He notes that all the teens involved are black — "If I had turned a deaf ear to these young ladies and their families when they cried out for help, I would have been accused of turning a deaf ear to African-American victims." He further points out that five other defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to as much as six years in prison and status as sex offenders. McDade has contended that Wilson wants to be a "martyr."

A jury found that the only sex crime Wilson committed was on a technicality. He was found not guilty of raping a 17-year-old, who claimed she was too impaired to consent to intercourse. They did find him guilty, however, of aggravated child molestation against a 15-year-old, who willingly performed oral sex on him and others.

****Excerpts were taken from the ajc.com!

1 comment:

Carmen In NC said...

I just hope other young teens learn from this. Not only are there diseases and feeling involved with sex - but now jail time.