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No Bond for GA Youth in Child Sex Case

Posted Jun 27, 2007 8:16 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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There will be no bond for a young Georgia man sentenced to a 10-year term in a controversial child sex case, despite an offer by 11 entrepreneurs to pay $1 million on his behalf.

Although Genarlow Wilson's habeas petition was recently granted by a federal judge who said the prison sentence was unjust, state law expressly prohibits bond in a case like this one. Hence, Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson ruled today, he has no power to grant bond while state prosecutors appeal the habeas grant and he cancelled a bond hearing originally scheduled for July 5, reports ABC News.

Wilson was sentenced to the 10-year term after being convicted of felony aggravated child molestation for having oral sex performed on him at a 2003 party by a 15-year-old girl, allegedly with her consent, when he was 17. The sentence is controversial because it much more severe than the one he would have received for statutory rape, due to a "Romeo and Juliet" exception that reduces the prison term when a perpetrator is close in age to the victim.

Prosecutors have contended that Wilson, originally charged with rape and acquitted in a jury trial, deserves the sentence he got, explains the New York Times. An honors student and All-American star high school football player, he had no criminal record before this case.

Civil rights leaders question whether a well-to-do white defendant would have been treated the way Wilson has been, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

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