We are all used to seeing high profile professional athletes work their way down from making touchdowns to making license plates. Michael Vick being the obvious example. It a much rarer occurrence to see it work the other way Especially when the person was a convicted child molester. Appearances however can be deceiving……
Shift scene to small town Georgia. Horny high school teenagers trying to get in each other pants oblivious to any legal ramifications that may exist due to a an age difference of a year or two. It really doesn’t have to be Georgia does it? Half the kids I knew in high school were in the same pants and that was small town Pittsburgh. Bottom line, its going on small town and large city everywhere USA……
Here is the kicker….. In small town Georgia three plus years ago, a minor age differential between a few older teenage boys and slightly younger girls propelled several teenagers into “pedophile hell” finally ending up as convicted felons with sex offender tags following them for life.
Marcus Dixon was convicted in May 2003 for the statatory rape and aggravated child molestation of Kristie Brown. Marcus was 17 years old and Kristie was just under 16 at the time they had sex. At the time the Georgia Aggravated Child Molestation statute, a crime designed to punish true pedophiles had no exception for consenting teens so close in age as many other states such as Texas had. It also carried a mandatory 10 year prison term and mandatory registration as a sex offender upon release for prison. What amounts to a life ending set of circumstances.
There was no doubt that there was sex and there was no doubt of the age difference. Open and shut case. Amid public outrage the jury had absolutely no choice but to sentence both Marcus Dixon and Genarlow Wilson to ten years in prison. (the jury did not know of the mandatory sentence when guilt was assessed which is normal in criminal cases)
Public Outrage continued during both Dixons’s and Wilson’s imprisonment. Appeals ensued. The Georgia Supreme Court finally reversed the Dixon conviction ruling 18-year-old Marcus Dixon should have been prosecuted just on the lesser charge of misdemeanor statutory rape rather than aggravated child molestation for having sex with a 15-year-old in February 2003. The ruling let the statutory rape conviction, which carries a maximum sentence of one year and a $1,000 fine, stand. Dixon had long served that portion of his sentence and was released.
Dixon later enrolled in Hampton College on a football scholarship. He had an outstanding collegiate career and while not drafted was signed just the other day to a 3 year multi million dollar free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
Marcus Dixon is not the only Georgia teen to be caught up in the Georgia “Pedophile Express”
Genarlow Wilson was also a young Georgia teen and promising athlete who made the mistake of letting his teen hormones jettison him to a promising prison football career with a sex offender tag to boot.
Genarlow videotaped himself having sex with a drunk teen girl slightly younger than himself. The tape proved to be judge jury and executioner. That was all the state needed to once again prosecute and prove aggravated chid molestation. Bing! Bang! Bam! Guilty and Ten Years in the Booty Hilton for the 17 year old with only the wonderful world that waits for Registered Sex Offenders to greet him upon return….
After over three years behind bars, Genarlo’s conviction was also overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court on the grounds that the punishment for teen sex was cruel and unusual as compared to the crime.
It should also be noted that in the interim the Georgia Legislature had reformed the law to bring it into the mainstream and make the conduct both Genarlo and Marcus engaged in a misdemeanors punishable by one year in jail with no sex offender tag.
Genarlo has since gone onto college and we shall see what his future holds for him…..
Let there be no mistake here. Neither of these kids were choirboys. Both were accused of the much more serious charge of felony rape but acquitted on those charges. There were many facts brought out in both cases that could lead reasonable people to disagree on whether these teens were in fact bad kids….. it was not cut and dry.
There were also serious racial overtones to both these cases. Not race cards…. In my opinion legitimate concerns about racial targeting in small town Georgia.
Mr Tibbs would not have approved……
You can read my coverage of the original Genarlo Wilson case here.