Georgia's Teen Sex Law Faces Fight

In this photo provided by the family of Genarlow Wilson he is shown in a portrait at the age of 17. Wilson is serving 10 years without the possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of aggravated child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2003. (AP Photo/Wilson Family Photo) ** NO SALES ** AP Photo/Wilson Family Photo

In 2003, 17-year-old Genarlow Wilson was an honors student, standout athlete and homecoming king preparing for his SATs with an eye toward college. But that all changed after a New Year's Eve party involving alcohol, marijuana and sex.

Wilson, now 21, is serving 10 years without the possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of aggravated child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl that night. He was charged with rape for being one of several male partygoers to have sex with a 17-year-old girl, but was acquitted.

Wilson's sentence has been widely criticized, even by members of the jury that convicted him and the author of the 1995 law that put him behind bars.

"The law was designed to protect kids against really, really bad people doing very bad things," said the sponsor, former state Rep. Matt Towery, a Republican. "It was never intended to put kids in jail for oral sex."

On Wednesday, Wilson's legal team will again try to free their client as a Monroe County Court hears a claim that Wilson's constitutional rights are being violated.

The lawyers will argue that his legal counsel during his 2005 trial was ineffective. Among other things, his lawyer did not subpoena the 15-year-old to testify. The petition also argues that the sentence was grossly disproportionate.
  • Sean Alfano

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