Teens, Sex and the Law

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Web Extra: Michel Martin talks with American University law professor Angela Jordan Davis and Georgia state Sen. Emanuel Jones about the Wilson case. Listen to the interviews

People often want to know how we "get" stories. Does somebody assign them to us, do we read them in the paper, do we hear about them from other people, do we go out and find them or stumble across them? The answer, of course, is all of the above. Increasingly, though, there's another source, which combines elements of all of the above. That source is the Internet. For good or for ill, the Internet plays an increasingly powerful role in getting stories in front of the public.

Here's the downside of that: There's ever more unsubstantiated stuff flying around at a faster and faster clip. It offers a vehicle for people to grind their ideological axes ever sharper without regard for the facts. The facts usually catch up, but it can take a lot of time before they do.

Here's the upside: You can more easily become aware of stories that you might not otherwise see. And if those stories resonate — if you see that people are responding to them by passing them around — then you often have a decent indication that there's grist for a bigger conversation.

The story we're about to bring you is one of those.

Several of us kept hearing about this case from people we know — and even people we don't know. A friend of a friend sends it to an uncle, who sends it to you — that kind of thing. A woman who lives in another city sent an article to a woman on our staff, another mom, with a note saying, "I'm not letting my kid out of the house until he's 30." Another correspondent, here at NPR, sent me a detailed story from a regional magazine saying, "Why hasn't this become a national story?"

It has become a national story, but we still felt we could add to the reporting.
The short facts: A Georgia teenager named Genarlow Wilson is now serving a 10-year prison sentence because when he was 17, he attended a party where a 15-year-old voluntarily performed oral sex on him. She wasn't intoxicated, she hadn't used drugs and she didn't want to press charges. It turns out that Georgia law is quite strict on what teens are allowed to do sexually even if there's a slight difference in age between the parties. Although the law has changed somewhat since Genarlow Wilson was convicted, and a lot of people don't think he belongs in prison for what he did, the situation hasn't changed so far.

We tackle a number of angles on this story: We talk to the lawyer who is handling Wilson's appeal. The prosecutor declined to give us an interview, but he referred us to others he has given. You can read his comments here.

But we wanted to dig deeper. We wondered what Wilson's peers think about his situation, so we asked four teens — two boys and two girls — from his former high school to give us their take on teens and sex, and the law. The girls are 14 and 15; the boys are age 17, the age Wilson was when he got into trouble. Some of you may find yourself troubled by what the kids have to say, but I hope we all agree that it's better to know than not to know.

We also talk to Laura Sessions Stepp, a Washington Post reporter and author of the book Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both. Stepp has done extensive work on how kids see sex these days; she's taken a lot of heat for her candid reporting, but she tells us the real deal that parents often don't know.

We were so deeply intrigued by the legal and legislative wrangling surrounding Wilson's prosecution that we've posted an additional segment as a Web exclusive (audio): We talk to American University law professor Angela Jordan Davis about how and why prosecutors bring charges like these, and Emanuel Jones, a Georgia state senator who wants to change the law.

You may wonder why we didn't talk to Genarlow Wilson or the young woman with whom he had oral sex. Wilson has given a number of interviews. You can watch one here and here. Frankly, we thought that B.J. Bernstein, his lawyer, was a better person to tell us what we wanted to know about the law and how it worked in his case. As for the young lady, she never wanted this matter to become public, and we felt the roundtable was a better way to handle those kinds of issues.

This is a long post, but we're covering a lot of ground in this program. Tell us what you think. Are there any angles you wanted to hear but didn't? Is there anything else we could have done to deepen this story or make it more compelling? How do you feel about the open discussion of oral sex and teen sexuality in general? We figured this is a podcast, so you're choosing to listen to it. But if this were an on-air broadcast, would you find the language and tone acceptable?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I fail to see how diversity was a crucial aspect of this story. Race was brought up, but each time it failed to deem more attention in the context of how the story was discussed.

My main question about this story is: Where were the parents at this New Years shindig?!!! Why would they turn a blind eye on what seems like an obvious situation for trouble with sex, drugs, and alcohol?

Here's where diversity can come into play. What was the racial make up of the youth at this bash? If they were predominately African American, does this reflect different parenting styles and attitudes between African American parents and those of other racial groups?

Sent by Steve Petersen | 2:44 PM | 2-8-2007

Forget my question about the two versions, I obviously missed the part where they were two different podcasts. Nevermind :)

Also, even if this is a "national story", it's the first I heard of it.

My first question is: Why was their a party at the Days Inn to begin with under 21 students but without parents?

OK, enough of that. This is really an issue of "age of censent", specifically the inconsistency among states AND inconsistency in regards to different responsibilities (driving, voting, smoking serving in the military, drinking). The 15 year old girl consented to her own action. Where do we draw the line as to who and when someone can consent to a sex act with another person? Would it make a difference if she was 15 and he was 40?

It's too bad Wilson is pretty much out of luck. Why doesn't his lawyer go to the govenor to get a pardon?

I'm glad the lawyer denies racism as an issue in the case (or at the very least says she isn't going to assume since there's no way to know for sure).

I think it's funny that the lawyer's name is "B.J.".

Did the 15 year old say she was raped, as one of the teenage girls said, or was it the 17 year old who said she was raped? I'm confused.

I think it's scary and kind of sad listening to the teenagers talking about sex. I'm 30, so maybe I'm getting old here, but I believe that sex is a way to express love and/or affection for a loved one (married or not). Promescuity is something I find very sad, whether it's teenagers or adults. I don't think there should be a law against it, of course, it's just sad.

As far as my children are concerned, I will make sure my children know it is unacceptable to me that they have sex before they are ready to accept the responsibility to be a parent (or at the very least to use contraception EVERY time). I'm hoping my children wait for a loving relationship before they start, but I'll be sure to let them know that they will NOT go to a party where they drink, smoke pot, and have sex on camera while they live under my roof. :)

I also find it interesting that if a 17 year old and 15 year old have sex, the 17 year old is charged with statatory rape and the 15 year old will NOT be charged with anything, but if they are BOTH under 16 they are BOTH charged with fornication.

I think it's funny that the teenagers didn't want to say the word "ho" or "whore".

When they were talking about "calling rape", I think they meant that an under 16 girl will only rat on an over 16 boy if the boy breaks up with her, or if her parents find out. But it's rare that an under 16 boy would say that an over 16 girl had sex with him.

I didn't like how, on air, you played for Laura Sessions Stepp a clip of the interview with the teenagers. It seemed like a waste of airtime for the listener to hear it twice.

I'm surprised about the different attitudes in regard to oral sex with it comes to white and black girls.

Also, the language and tone was perfectly fine, I think.

Sent by Scott K | 3:56 PM | 2-8-2007

Great investigation and presentation. This is an excellent way to present sensitive subjects...people who want all the details can find them, and those who want just the basic info can stop at that level. Thanks for a thoughtful, balanced article.

Sent by Craig Sheumaker | 4:02 PM | 2-8-2007

This is a bit offtopic, but I am curious about something...

The case involved a video including children under 18 (including a 15 year old). Jurors and at least one state senator SAW this tape. That's child pornography! The idea that the court would have people view it blows my mind.

Sent by Scott K | 4:11 PM | 2-8-2007

I believe that most children do not know what the laws are in the state in which they reside and that it is the states responsibility to provide this information to them before they enter high school. If the information was made available, more children might decide not to participate in this type of behavior and possibly more crimes of this type would be reported. Regardless, I feel that Genarlow's sentence was too severe as most pedophiles don't receive this much time for their criminal acts! I wish states would get together and create a standard for children under the age of 18 so that everyone knows what is acceptable and what is criminal.

Sent by J Fisk | 5:51 PM | 2-8-2007

When a white woman sexual predator gets house arrest and a black male gets ten years for a consensual sex act, the racism is obvious for all who care to look at it. Those who don't see it, don't want to. This is what happens when the legacy of our Puritan sexual morals hooks up with the legacy of race relations in this country. Of course, they didn't just meet. They've been strolling hand in hand throughout much of our history.

Sent by Tom Pendergast | 7:18 PM | 2-8-2007

This was the best roughcut so far. I think more views from a more diverse group of kids would make it even more powerful. As the father of a transgender daughter (13 years old), access to the views of her peers about sex, and peer pressure, is invaluable to me. (and hard to come by at home)

Sent by Jim | 8:32 PM | 2-8-2007

There is no need for a long post about diversity or what not. The real question should be why is this young man behind bars with this felony record for 10 years? What do you think society will feel about the man when he is released? This is a disgrace.

Sent by Jay | 12:23 AM | 2-9-2007

Prosecution of a 17-year-old kid for getting oral sex from a 15-year-old who did it willingly and not while under the influence of drugs or drink ... and to throw this kid in jail for ten years ... it is the same profoundly mean-spirted and sick impulse that led to the witch trials and Inquisitions of Dark-Ages Europe.

Sent by Jerry Small | 1:54 AM | 2-9-2007

Placing this story on-air would invite many different opinions from many different age groups, which, I feel, is what NPR is great at. I listen to NPR to hear news I wouldn't normally hear on a televised news station and a topic like this one is exactly what I'd like to hear, not just for the meat of the topic but for the opinions of the callers and speakers on the show. I feel this should definitely be broadcast on-air. The language is appropriate to not only the topic but the times we're living in, and the topic is, or should be, at the forefront of every parent's mind.

Sent by N Morgan | 2:20 AM | 2-9-2007

Compelling story that raises so many questions. One that might have been addressed: who stands up for the kids? Is there anyone in the community who has credibility with the boys, with the girls, to educate them on the law? They clearly need to know.

I liked the interview with the AU law professor regarding prosecutorial discretion. Kids and parents need to understand that archaic or just plain bad law exists and can be enforced even when it flies in the face of common sense. I would have included a bit of that interview in the piece.

The teen segment was fascinating, if a bit horrifying, but at least the 17-year-old boys seem to have some idea of what constitutes rape. Generally the group demonstrates the need for information not only regarding the law, but boundaries and sex in general. Again, I think it's a matter of kids' right to know.

The Wilson case is shocking and tragically unjust. I cannot believe race was not a factor in motivating the county prosecutor's office to pursue this beautiful child the way it did. It was so certain of the boy's guilt it was willing to contort a misbegotten law and manipulate a jury into finding for the prosecution. It makes me so mad!

So, in brief, good material, but humbly suggest a more kids' rights/advocacy for kids sort of angle might have made the piece cohere a little better.

Sent by Chava Palmer | 3:28 AM | 2-9-2007

I think that this is a travesty of justice. They put a 17 year old in jail because he got a consentual blow job from a 15 year old at a party?!?!?

I think that more people need to hear about this story because he should NOT be in prison and he should NOT be listed as a predator.

Would it make a difference if he were 40? Absolutely. But he's still just a kid himself. He showed bad judgement, not criminal behavior. His punishment should match his misbehavior.

I can guarantee you he wouldn't be doing time if he were a white kid from an upper middle class family and he wouldn't be listed as a sex offender either.

I think that you'd need to time this boadcast for after hours. I don't have kids, but if I did, I wouldn't want them to listen until they were teens.

For those wondering -- I'm white, female and 35.

Sent by J Anderson | 8:36 AM | 2-9-2007

This young man should go free. Is there any way the public can help that happen? As for all the rest; the law needs to be changed. Kids should be taught to be responsible and that included knowing the law and abiding by it. I will pray for him.

Sent by Janet S. Lahm | 9:06 AM | 2-9-2007

We have to look at the facts..but if this was agreed to by both parties..I think this is totally crazy. There was a 2 year difference in age...he was doing well academically and also in sports. Makes me upset that someone's life was distrubed due to some law.

Sent by Jeff S. | 11:14 AM | 2-9-2007

This story was interesting and quite sad. I am not terribly removed from my teenage years and I remember parties at hotels with drugs and sex and no parents. (I must add, per comments above, I went to a predominately white school in a wealthy district and we too had a large population behaving as the students at the public city school-race does not discriminate here this is an issue among TEENS period!) It made me so sad to hear those young teenagers talk about sex. I wish there was some way to teach them what most adults learn later in life-that popularity is not important and sharing your body is a decision better made by an adult.

One more thing, I would have liked to hear from an opposing side. Perhaps someone from the prosecution team or a parent feeling Wilson is serving the time he deserved. It would have intrigued me to hear someone try to justify his punishment.

Sent by Aubrey | 11:19 AM | 2-9-2007

Thank you for this show. The concept of pulling the big idea out of local stories is critical for our understanding of both local and national community.

This case specifically brings up so many critical issues for our nation. The story as presented here with the diverse perspectives really should stimulate thought and discussion on topics critical to our society.

I remember teaching middle school social studies and encouraing students to stay up on current events. Then, when my students asked questions about Monica Lewinsky, legally, my mouth had to shut and I could not talk with them about sex, oral sex, and love. Then one of my students got pregnant the next year. We have to start thinking about sex education in schools as fundamental life skills. And this case shows us that sex is not simply a moral or religious issue. It is legal. As adults and citizens (parents or not), we have a responsibility to do all we can to give our children every chance possible-- and that includes a full education on both sex and the law. And I mean an education that focuses on critical thinking skills, not simplly test skills.

It gets to a deeper question about the failure of our schools, families, churches, and communities to prepare students for the world today. Students don't learn about savings accounts, stock markets, laws that really apply to them, or sex and contraception (other than abstinence-- which let's face it, is wildy optimistic at best and unconscionably ignorant at worst).

Sent by Robin | 11:27 AM | 2-9-2007

It is impossible that in the entire state of Georgia, these two teenagers are the only ones having sex, oral or otherwise. Why pick on this one teenager? If this act deserved 10 years then the Georgia jails should be overflowing with teenagers.

Sent by Ravi | 12:39 PM | 2-9-2007

This is pure insanity. I can't believe a teenager experiementing with sex (which all teenagers do for christ's sake!) resulted in a ten year prision sentence!
its completely rediculous! People need to get up and protest. Why is the government allowed to regulate consentual sex anyway?

Sent by Maddie Hines | 2:55 PM | 2-9-2007

I remember reading this story on ESPN. The one possible angle that I'm still looking at is Georgia recently pass a law about underage sex that went retroactive to the the kid's situation. However, Georgia Courts have refused this kid to been released. The irony: the state law passed was based on him. I want people's reactions that if a state law was passed for this reason, why is he not being released? It seems odd that he was a pioneer and the scapegoat at the same time.

Sent by Tracy | 3:47 PM | 2-9-2007

I just read this and I am amazed. That poor guy, jail for 10 years for something that most teenagers participate in! I was i high school, in the south, in public school, 5 years ago and believe me, every teenager is doing this. Why should he have to go to jail for a problem that our society is responsible for? He is a victim of a corrupt, unjust system. I also think that this could be about race. I am always hearing theese statistics of how many young black men are in jail compaired to white men, and how when they leave jail they are more of a threat to society than when they entered. Some irresponsible law maker has possibly destroyed this guys life. When other young men see this happen what are they supposed to think? That they can't have sexual expierences or they might go to jail! That is not healthy, its impossible. There is no question, it is WRONG for this guy to be in jail. Once again, I am amazed.

Sent by Erica | 4:28 PM | 2-9-2007

What's sad with this case and obvious with the four teens interviewed is there absolutely NO SEXUAL EDUCATION in the Georgia school system. Not one of the teens interviewed knew that any teen could be prosecuted for consentual sex (oral or intercourse). The Federal Government should require all public schools have a Sexual education curriculum at 8th grade and again at 10th grade - for safety sake! Problem is then it creates a States Rights battle, but the safety of all teenagers should override this. Ironic that the laws which brought about this ridiculous imprisonment of Gerarlow Wilson were likely written by someone from the '60s or '70s "free love era." When did the lawmakers loose their virginity? When did they begin having consentual sex? Most parents and Lawmakers act all high and mighty and pure, yet never try to remember their years as a teenager - and I am positive they all wanted to have sex. All this verdict did was destroy the potentially prosperous life of Genarlow Wilson. Overturn the verdict and set the (Now) man free and maybe Genarlow will be 'alright.' Leave Genarlow incarcerated for eight more years and NOTHING good will be left of him. AND I do call the racial trump card on this case: what was the ethnicity of the judge and jury???

Sent by John F Wagenknecht | 5:51 PM | 2-9-2007

Tom Pendergast said:

"When a white woman sexual predator gets house arrest and a black male gets ten years for a consensual sex act, the racism is obvious for all who care to look at it."

I don't agree. This is more of an issue of gender in that case, not rape. A male teacher would have gotten jail time, but female teachers rarely do.

Sent by Scott K. | 12:34 PM | 2-10-2007

This reminds me alot of the infamous Euclid Sex Scandal in Euclid, Ohio, when a 18-yr old girl serviced almost a third of the school's young black men, and then cried rape... until a security tape surfaced showing her--literally--DRAGGING young men into a line near a stairwell for a turn. The Wilson incident isn't neccesarily about race, so much as it is complicated by race AND gender. In the Euclid thing, none of the boys were charged--and the girl wasn't charged with gross sexual imposition on minors, which was curious. The boys narrowly escaped jail time, and it became a national news story.

I think we all would like to think that kids don't have sex in schools, in cars, in hallways, or anywhere oportunity presents itself. That our children are not sexual beings. They are. And oral sex is so "hi, how are you?" anymore. It's nothing. The Beege is the new "first base". What I think is that we have to teach our young men not to be driven by thier loins, as hard as that can be. But those urges can have heavy consequences. My heart goes out to Wilson and his parents.

Sent by jimi izrael | 1:16 PM | 2-12-2007

How can anyone think race was not part of the issue here? Would this have ever gone to trial let alone a 10 year sentence if it had been an upper class white boy?

Sent by Heather Cantrall | 6:36 PM | 2-13-2007

Excellent piece. Sex has always been a taboo subject, yet one that is vitally important to discuss. As values and attitudes change among youth, adults rarely know what is going on due to their own squimishness on the topic. This program provided a necessary education to those of us not privy to the private lives of our youth.

Sent by Brian Wilson | 2:14 PM | 2-14-2007

This is the first podcast of rough cuts that I truly loved from beginning to end. I think the other episodes have felt a bit too much like ... a round table of people who agree with each other talk about how much they are in common. This episode felt like it was dealing with conflicting ideas, was digging into truly controversial ground, and asking the listeners to do some thinking about their values.

The interviews with the kids were brilliant! Michel guided them through very sensitive topics (e.g. what is jail bait?) very respectfully, while eliciting just wonderfully honest and insightful answers.

I feel like minority status is often the focus of this show, which tends to make me less receptive from the beginning .. even though I am a minority myself. In this episode, I felt like minority issues were still getting attention, but the topic was much more complex ... and interesting.

Sent by J Scott | 11:22 PM | 2-14-2007

This is a DISGRACE. Here's what I don't get, in spite of the statements by the jury foreperson: If jurors from time-to-time exercise "jury nullification," (ref OJ Simpson) why didn't these folks just use the common sense they NOW subscribe to, and find this young man Not Guilty?? Seems like a no-brainer to me... Juries can overcome bad laws!!

Sent by Larry in Arkansas | 5:17 PM | 2-16-2007


I am disappointed that the interviewer did not ask the teens she interviewed about what their parents thought about their sexual activity. The average that the teens thought was OK for sexualy activity was 13. The blase attitude of these kids indicated their parents were fine with their answers. Scary.

Sent by Anthony | 11:13 PM | 2-16-2007

what are the judges thinking? the are ruining a youg man's life. i don't know any teenagers who did not experiment with sex in school.does this mean we all should be sent to jail.how do we pressure the state to release the young man and force them to help him put his life back together?can the federal government pressure them ?who is their congress person ? thanks,kp

Sent by kathy pignatelli | 8:50 PM | 2-17-2007

I also found it disturbing that it was consensual sex, in which the 15 year old who was sober and was "on" the 17 year old who was under the influence, and the 17 year old got charged! I wonder why it wasn't looked at as he was being molested. Also anyone who says that race does not play into this is either lying or needs to wake up and take the blinders off. The people who prosecuted this child should be ashamed. They know the intention of the law and to misuse it is the devil's work.

Sent by MJ | 12:18 AM | 2-18-2007

that is the stupidest [expletive] thing ive ever heard about that guy should not be in there the girl should...

Sent by aubry pelleran | 5:13 PM | 3-5-2007

Why can we not have consistency in sex crime laws in this nation. I think most people assume that if someone 18 or older has sex with someone under 18, they are probably committing a crime. Yet in many states, the age of consent for participating in a sexual act is 16. Why the difference? But in Georgia, a "boy" under 18 has consensual sex with girl under 16, and he goes to jail for 10 years? 10 years?! People who kill other people in drunk driving incidents get less than 10 years. If the prosecutor is trying to protect a girl under 16 or 18, whatever the age of consent is in Georgia, why then is the 17 year old boy not treated like a minor as well? It doesn't seem to make much sense or be at all consistent. And the kid, having made a mistake - hanging around with the wrong people, doing drugs, having sex - ends up in prison for 10 years. 10 years! Paris Hilton drives drunk and potentially endangers the lives of all those driving while she is intoxicated and gets what, 15 days in a segregated unit. This 17 year old boy has consensual sex with a 15 year old girl from his high school and he gets 10 years in a state prison, where he will not be protected or pampered, no doubt. Too bad he was born in the state of Georgia. God help him and us.

Sent by Mike Haigerty | 10:30 AM | 6-7-2007

They should both be punished for their stupid behavior by their PARENTS, not the criminal justice system. If the guy was older of course he should sit in jail, but not with only 2 years difference in their ages. When I was 17 I had sex with my girlfriend, she was 15. But I intended on making her my wife at some point, and did, and we have been happily married for 10 years now. Most kids don't think that way nowadays. While it's obvious these kids come from questionable upbringing it's also hard to shield children from the overtly sexual nature of the entertainment industry and media. Kids don't know that sex is overrated, most adults don't even know that sex is overrated. Unfortunately, because of the music industry, entertainment industry, and media sex is practically on the front page 24 hours a day. This makes it hard for even good parents to accurately teach their children appropriately about sex and life. Most schools don't get it right either, look at the recent Boulder Colorado incident, where so called "experts" basically told the high schoolers they should have sex and take drugs. (Yes I read the transcript, and it's not as bad as some in the media have made it out to be, but they still shouldn't have said that. I commend the student who stood up for their beliefs at the end, that gives me a little hope for the future.) I think government should stay out of it altogether. Ever since they took abstinence first policy out of sex education, std's and teen pregnancy have climbed as much as 80%. Not abstinence only, but at least abstinence first, then if you just can't control yourself, by all means be safe. Of course if kids can't learn to control themselves, then we are all in big trouble and I fear for the future. I do think that government should inform the people of their laws, since you have absurd laws such as this one in GA. But even in middle schools and some elementary schools we are having problems with children having sex. Even if you teach your children correctly, that doesn't mean that the other kid's parents have done the same. Kids are greatly influenced by other kids so... what's the answer? Well, I don't know, all I can say is I'm deeply considering home schooling my kids.

Sent by Scott | 11:32 AM | 6-13-2007

Genarlow Wilson has now been in prison for almost three years, but the story is just now going national? Why? Secondly,I know that the south has not changed much in terms of demonizing the sexuality of black males. Bearing this in mind, I have to wonder whether or not the young lady that consented to performing oral sex is a WHITE FEMALE? If so, this would explain why Genarlow Wilson is being made an example of. If we go back in history, we will see case after case where black males were lynched, castrated, and even burned at the stakes for allegedly flirting, having sex, or in some cases falsely accused of raping a white female when in fact the relationship was consensual but when the white female was discovered to have cavorted with a black male, the usual reaction was to scream, "RAPE!" Genarlow Wilson's case reminds me somewhat of the Emitt Till case though not as drastic as having the teen murdered as was the case with Emitt Till when the 15 year old flirted with a white woman, and was summarily dragged out of his bed in the dead of night by the white female's husband and another male. We all know that 15 year old Emitt Till was tortured and then murdered for whistling at a white woman.
So, if indeed Genarlow Wilson had sexual relations with a consenting white female, he is in fact paying the high price for cavorting with a white female in the DIRTY SOUTH!
Oh, and the issue isn't that adults were absent--that's another story--at issue is that AMERICA has two judicial systems for non-whites and whites; one is called JUSTICE and the other is called INJUSTICE!

Sent by kdean | 1:29 PM | 6-15-2007

I am aware of a case here in Michigan where a 15 year old white girl was taken to be put on birth control by her mother. When her mother realized she was having sex with a black male, she then went and turned it in to the police? How hypocritcal to take your daughter to put her on birth control and then cry statutory. Now the young male is facing a felony charge which carries 15 years and sex offender registry. She is using a law intended to protect our young people from predators as a way of pursuing racial hatred and revenge, and every member of the judicial system that is allowing it, is guilty of the same. This is tragic, where recently in the same state, it was ruled that you could go to life for adultery - and yet because it was outdated, the prosecutors admitted that they do not prosecute. Our nation needs to standardize laws - so that the legal age of consent has with it a guideline so that young teenagers who are experimenting as most of us did, do not have to face a ruined future and life, because someone wanted to "Get Even".

Sent by Adam | 3:17 PM | 6-15-2007

I don't believe there is justice when he is punished and she is not for something that was agreed upon. It also seems that artist who sings about such activity should also take some blame with their promotion, it seems many videos today create such thoughts and confusion with subliminal messages, which I believe enhances the curiosity. The videos are like premediated pornography and should be a crime.

Sent by Miss Kim | 1:14 PM | 7-9-2007

This is insane,America needs to rally together and do something about this. I am reading about this case and related laws for minors and the more I read I am beggining to think that even flirting could be a "sex crime" If the courts wont do something the people must. It is time that every one demand fair laws for minors in this area otherwise this will continues. In fact this may serve as an example on the books in the future. Its imperative we act and NOW. Who knows what hell this boy is going through

Wake Up America!!!!

Sent by Rob | 12:58 AM | 11-9-2007

This is not just happen to black male it's also happen to white males my son is doing three to 15 for consensual sex and the females go on live their life and to top it off the parents of the girls was home when this happened and they go on living their lives to while our lives are ripped apart I feel like we both are in prison and there???s nothing I can do I have tried every thing I have spent everything I have between doctors( counseling and Evaluation) and attorney fees. I am not saying I would like to see the girls or there parents hurt like we are. but I do feel they should have prevented it from happening. And to punish a kid over a adult who should have stopped it is insane they took his life and they go on living theirs. There are more teens in prison than you think not just black but white and they need help!

Sent by I fear for their future | 10:48 AM | 12-31-2007

I agree with the above commenter. I was charged with a slue of charges based merely upon the claims of a 14 year old. There was not any physical evidence in the case, I had a witness statement on my behalf, 3 signed affidavits on my behalf, and the rape kit was CLEAN. (I was 19 at the time and did NOT have sexual intercourse with the alleged victim).

Would you like to know what my PUBLIC PRETENDER (ahem, 'Defender') told me? That the LOWEST sentence that I could possibly receive if I took it to trial was a MANDATORY TEN YEARS.

Well, I am now a registered sex offender for the charge of Felony Statutory Rape ('Consensual Sex'). This means that I must register for the rest of my life, and my life is now limited by the stipulations of sex offender probation. Which, the ONLY difference in GA between a violent offender's stipulations and a nonviolent offender's stipulations is that violent offenders have to wear an ankle monitor.

So, how is it that, because I found the option of taking a plea to something I did not do... since my own 'lawyer' said that I hadn't any hope "as the laws are currently written"...better than going to PRISON for TEN YEARS, that I am now treated the SAME as someone who would kidnap and rape a two year old?

Did you know that, as the laws are written in GA, someone who merely urinates on their lawn and is by-chance seen by a minor, is to be convicted of AGGRIVATED child molestation? Did you know that if you merely kiss a minor, as GA laws are written, you can be charged with AGGRIVATED child molestation? Hmmm, have you kissed your children goodnight lately?

Because of the words of a 14 year old (and, keep in mind that not a single shred of her sexual history could be brought up... because it 'embarasses' the 'victim'), I now have to register as a sex offender... have to undergo sex offender therapy, have limitations on my place of residence, have limitations on my place of employment, have a 12 hour curfew during which I must be inside my house... I cannot go to the mall, a bar (I am 23 now), to school to pick up my niece, etc. I cannot have pictures of anyone under the age of 18 (keep in mind, this includes someone who is 17 1/2) UNLESS they are family, cannot be 'unsupervised' around anyone under 18 (INCLUDING family). This means, even if I am asleep and do not know they are there, I would still be considered as violating my probation. I must have any underage family members who live with me approved first by the judge... even if that child is my OWN child. I cannot date someone who has a child or is pregnant. The list could go on...

And, to think, I was 19, she was 14... the act never occured, there were witnesses to this fact, the rape kit was clean. I was merely a child at the time and was afraid to spend a mandatory TEN years of my life in a state prison, so I let my public defender scare me into a plea... I did not rape anyone, especially not a child. (Even if the sex were to occur, it would have only been under a consensual setting). My record was SPOTLESS up until the accusation.

This is my life... this is a glance to the other side of this argument.

Sent by James | 4:50 AM | 1-23-2008

what was his name?

Sent by kendaila | 9:21 PM | 2-23-2008