Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Genarlow Wilson to Join Campaign to Educate Teens About Sex Laws

Though the law that originally sentenced Genarlow Wilson to prison for ten years for a consensual blow job has been ameliorated, most teens remain ignorant of the laws that govern the sexual activity of teenagers. Indeed, many parents are likewise unaware of the laws that cover consensual teen sex.

But the fact remains that even though the law that sent Wilson to prison has been ameliorated, milder laws still remain on the book that classify even consensual sex between teens close in age as crimes that still have the possibility of jail time. Thought it's relatively rare that boyfriend/girlfriend cases are prosecuted, Wilson's case shows that it still can happen.

Laws vary in different states, as do the ages of consent which range from 14 to 18. Some states have moved in recent months to add so-called Romeo and Juliet exceptions to prevent sexually active teenagers from being lumped together with child molesters. "I think there is a view now that 'hey, maybe we overdid it on the sex offender registry,'" said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council.

Other states, however still insist on categorizing boyfriend/girlfriend sex in with pedophiles and rapists, obliging those convicted to likewise register as dangerous sex offenders.

"We do a disgraceful job of educating kids about the very real consequences that they face," said J. Tom Morgan, a former DeKalb County district attorney.

"If society is going to punish them as adults," said Morgan, "then society ought to educate them."

In an interview with the Associated Press, Genarlow Wilson said that he believes that sex education classes are lacking.

"Most of the time they just tell kids, 'Use condoms,'" Wilson said. "That's not the only thing they need to know about sex. They need to know that they can actually go to jail."

Wilson intends appear on behalf of an organization set up by his lawyer to help teens learn their rights.

It would be easy and understandable for Wilson to want to forget about his time in jail and to put it behind him, but I find it commendable that he wants to help others avoid what happened to him.


1 comment:

Shelly Kozak said...

I find it very commendable that Genarlow Wilson is willing to help others avoid what he has dealt with. I am a current Forensic Psychology student, in my class, we have to pick a case that has happened over the last 10 years and do a case study/review over it. We are required to use a peer reviewed article and write a paper about that article and why we either support it or not. I am using a article on Genarlow's sentencing and why it was wrong. I fully support the article. I feel that his sentence was cruel and unusual. I am just having a hard time finding information regarding the psychology on what affect, that kind of sentencing could have had on him.
Any suggestions??