Monday, November 24, 2008

Georgia's Criminalization of Consensual Sex Continues

I first saw this story on Scienceblogs, and now on BoingBoing, about Wendy Whitaker of Georgia who is required to be a registered sex offender because she gave a nearly 16-year-old boy a blow job when she was 17 years old. Both students were high school sophomores. Previously, the law in Georgia made any sex act between an individual 16 years or older with another individual under the age of 16 a criminal act of child molestation.

Now, she's being evicted from her home because of an unadvertised childcare center located in a local Catholic church. Her and her family have until thanksgiving to move out.

I'm reminded of the Genarlow Wilson case, which I wrote about before. Nearly identical circumstances -- Wilson was the 17-year-old who received a blow job from a 15-year-old classmate. The publicity and controversy that generated from the case when Wilson refused to take the plea bargain forced the Georgian legislature to rethink its sex offender laws. Eventually, the legislature repealed the law; however, the decision was not retroactive and did not apply to the Wilson case. When the state Supreme Court heard Wilson's case, though, they decided that his 10 year prison sentence was cruel and unusual punishment for the "crime" committed. Wilson was released after serving 2 years, and he was not required to be a registered sex offender.

But this now repealed law, this injustice, is still affecting Georgian residents. I think that Whitaker's case should be enough to convince the legislature that their decision to repeal the law should be applied retroactively to all similar cases.

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