Genarlow Wilson was charged with rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation. He and 5 buddies videotaped their “party” with 2 young girls – one of who was 17 and “semi-conscious” (according to the Georgia Court of Appeals) and another who was 15 and a minor.
The young men, including Mr. Wilson, engaged in multiple acts of intercourse with the 17-year old, even after she was passed out drunk and high on drugs. In fact, Mr. Wilson is videotaped abusively having sex with the passed out girl – a fact ignored by the media, but witnessed by the jury. And every one of them received oral sex from the minor. This is against the law in Georgia because a minor is not deemed capable of consenting to such an act. This was not two star-crossed lovers on a date!
Five of the six men plead guilty to the lesser charge of child molestation instead of aggravated child molestation. They received 4-5 years each instead of the mandatory 10 years for aggravated child molestation. Mr. Wilson decided to fight – and he was convicted by a jury of his peers. (My personal opinion is that the jury would have preferred to convict him of the rape charge due to sex with the older girl after she was passed out and incapable of consenting, but since she had earlier had consensual sex, they felt they couldn’t. So they used the minor to convict him. Remember, they could have found him “not guilty” and didn’t.) Between conviction and sentencing, he was offered the plea bargain again instead of the mandatory 10 year sentence. He refused and accepted the sentence. That offer, by the way, is still available today. He can go before the judge any time and request a new trial. He and his lawyer appear to prefer martyrdom to the 5 additional years in prison. The Georgia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court has upheld the conviction.
As you know, Georgia passed a very strict sexual predator law last year. Within the new law was flexibility for prosecutors for consensual sex between a 15 and 17 year old. However, I don’t believe the legislature anticipated permitting leniency with a 6 on 1 situation as occurred here.
The issue before the Georgia General Assembly is SB 37. Genarlow Wilson’s case generated it, but it isn’t limited to this single case. The bill would allow defense attorneys to petition judges to re-open every case of a convicted sex offender who engaged in sodomy, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, or enticed a child for indecent purposes if the criminal and the minor were less than 4 years apart. The victims involved could be as young as 13. I strongly oppose any legislative effort to require the courts to revisit over 1100 cases like Wilson’s. They violated the law. Police arrested them. District attorneys chose to prosecute them. Grand juries decided to indict them. Juries convicted them (when they could have found them “not guilty”). Each of those convictions left a scarred victim. The legislature should not second guess the process. We did not listen to the testimony or see the evidence. I hate to think of the emotional burden on thousands of victims, the cost to the taxpayers, and the delay in justice to pending court cases if this bill were to pass.
People seem to forget that a 15 year old girl was the victim. I stand with her. I also stand with future possible victims of politically correct apologists who want to turn loose convicted sexual predators. Remember, one of Mr. Wilson’s buddies impregnated a 12 year old while awaiting trial and has been convicted of statutory rape. Wilson is NOT the victim. The minor girl in a hotel room with 6 stoned adults is the victim.
Usually, society complains about sentences that are perceived as too soft. Granted, this sentence was harsh. But it was MANDATORY under the law. Life comes with accountability for our decisions. Genarlow Wilson could have selected different friends to hang with. He could have joined millions of law-abiding teens all over the country enjoying New Years’ Eve without alcohol, drugs and sex. He could have left the hotel when “the fun” started. He didn’t. He made a choice. Now his life has changed forever. That is sad. I hope other young men and girls will learn from this tragedy and avoid his errors.