Former Georgia Legislator Matt Towery is supporting SB 37, sponsored by Senator Emanuel Jones (D-10), and Genarlow Wilson:
Matt Towery, a Republican House member from 1993 to 1997, said Tuesday it was never his intent to lock up teenagers involved in consensual sex acts when he pushed the Child Protection Act in 1995.
The bill was intended to crack down on child molesters, but it was amended to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 — meaning consensual sex acts with a 15-year-old could result in prison terms usually reserved for armed robbers and kidnappers.
Towery said he was inspired to speak out after reading about the case of Genarlow Wilson, a 17-year-old Douglasville high school student sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated child molestation for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl.
“It did not even dawn on me at that time that this punishment was going to apply to these young adults, and those who are under the age of 18 … who engaged in consensual sex with the new age of consent,” said Towery, who now owns a political polling and Internet media company.
Towery endorsed Senate Bill 37, a proposal by Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Atlanta) that would allow judges to modify sentences in certain sex crimes involving consensual acts between teenagers that occurred prior to July 1, 2006 when state laws were relaxed.