Posted Jun 26, 2007 06:05 pm CDT
Eleven entrepreneurs have offered to pay a $1 million cash bond to free a Georgia teen who has been serving a 10-year sentence in a controversial child sex case.
Due to a sentencing quirk, Genarlow Wilson received this term after being convicted of the felony of 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. Had he been convicted of statutory rape, he would have received a lesser sentence, because a “Romeo and Juliet” exception in that law reduces the term of imprisonment when the perpetrator is close in age to the victim, explains former Georgia state representative Matt Towery in an article on the Townhall talk radio Web site.
Although a judge recently granted a habeas petition and overturned Wilson’s 10-year sentence, calling it a “grave miscarriage of justice,” prosecutors are appealing the sentence reduction and Wilson remains in prison, pending a July 5 bond hearing. The case has been controversial because of the apparent sentencing discrepancy, and this is the reason why the entrepreneurs, led by Whitney Tilson, stepped forward to offer to fund Wilson’s bond, explains ABC News.
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 reportedly had no criminal record prior to this case.