Sara Vanden Berge
As the country comes unhinged over comments Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made concerning “age-appropriate” sex education for kindergartners, parents of teenage boys should be giving their own lessons in the birds and the bees.
If for no other reason than to keep their baby boys out of jail.
Puberty, as we know, can catapult kids into life altering situations that result in unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and broken hearts.
And as one unlucky Georgia teen discovered, it can also land a guy in jail.
Meet Genarlow Wilson.
Before his arrest, 17-year-old Wilson was reported to be a model son, good athlete and high school student with a 3.2 GPA. He was also Homecoming King. On the day of his arrest, Wilson, who had never been in trouble with the law before, was scheduled to take his SAT.
Today, he sits in a dank prison cell hoping to have his 10-year conviction for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old overturned.
If you’re confused, feel the love.
The facts of the case are fairly graphic and need not be repeated in this space. Suffice it to say that Wilson made the mistake of attending a party where there were plenty of bottles o’ beer and girls were filmed having sex with a variety of boys in succession.
Wilson was one of several lads filmed getting cozy with a 15-year-old. Authorities alleged the girl was too intoxicated to consent to any sexual act and six boys, including Wilson, were charged with rape. While the other boys agreed to plea deals, Wilson went to trial. He was acquitted on the rape charge but a jury found him guilty of aggravated child molestation. He received a mandatory 10-year sentence and will have to register as a sex offender after his release.
Public outrage followed and calls for his release have been loud.
Earlier this month, the Romeo and Juliet law went into effect in Georgia. The law states that no teen prosecuted for having consensual oral sex can receive more than a 12-month sentence or be required to register as a sex offender.
Calling Wilson’s sentence “cruel and unusual punishment,” a lower court judge recently ordered his release, but an appeal by Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker blocked it.
Now, the Georgia Supreme Court is hearing the case and will decide sometime in September if Wilson should be released from prison.
In the meantime, boys with raging hormones should receive lessons in drinking, decorum and all things grown up. They should also be given a pop quiz on what the law considers rape or sexual assault. One ugly night and a couple of bad decisions could set a boy on a path he never imagined.
And girls, that goes for you too.