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The untold truth in the Wilson case

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POSTED: July 3, 2007 5:02 a.m.
The mainstream media is portraying Genarlow Wilson as a victim and Georgia as a backwater state by oversimplifying this case. There is more to this story than a young student getting 10 years in prison for consensual oral sex. A lot more.
Genarlow Wilson was charged with rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation. He and five buddies videotaped their “party” on New Year's Eve with two young girls — one age 17 and “semi-conscious” (according to the Georgia Court of Appeals) and another who was 15 and a minor.
This was not two star-crossed lovers on a date. Mr. Wilson engaged in intercourse with the 17-year old after she was passed out drunk and high on drugs and encouraged the others to join him. She accused the young men of rape and has never recanted.
Sex with a semi-conscious female who cannot grant consent is rape — even if she earlier granted it consensually. She was also locked in the bathroom in between the sex acts and this resulted in a “false imprisonment” conviction for one of the men.
Later, all but 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.  
There were six men, with 40 prior arrests among them, in a hotel room with a semi-conscious girl and a minor. They were consuming illegal drugs and alcohol underage. They weren’t choirboys. One of men impregnated a 12-year-old while awaiting trial and has since been convicted of statutory rape. Five of the six men pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of child molestation instead of aggravated child molestation. All are serving time.
Mr. Wilson refused the plea bargain and he was unanimously convicted by a jury of his peers. The sentence for his crimes is a harsh, but mandatory, 10 years in prison. He continues to turn down offers that would release him from jail and keep him off the sexual offender registry. But he and his new lawyer appear to prefer martyrdom to freedom. There is a web site, a publicist and a limo for his attorney. People are judging this case based on 60-second news clips instead of watching the video, reading the court transcripts and trusting the jury system.
Georgia’s laws are designed to protect minors from sexual predators. Genarlow and his buddies violated the law. A young girl charged them with rape. The police arrested them. A district attorney chose to prosecute them. A grand jury decided to indict them — and a jury convicted them.
Now an entirely new judge, enjoying his 15 minutes of fame, ignored the law, the trial, the appeals and the facts of the case. He reduced Genarlow’s sentence, and ordered him released from prison. His decision was a shock and clear violation of Georgia law.
The attorney general has filed an expedited appeal with Georgia’s Supreme Court — who just last year unanimously upheld the constitutionality of an identical case. This has put the prisoner, his family, and the victims on an incredibly cruel and unnecessary emotional rollercoaster.
Wilson is NOT the victim. A semi-conscious female and a minor girl were the victims. Society shouldn’t wonder why females hesitate to charge rape. They are portrayed as trash and the men are just doing what men do. Women should be outraged.
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 Year’s 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.

Senator Eric Johnson is the president Pro Tempore of the Georgia Senate. He represents the 1st district that includes parts of Chatham and Liberty and all of Bryan County.
 

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