Gernalow Wilson’s Essence Interview

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"I can’t let my frustrations get the best of me,� he also tells Essence.

[National News]

Genarlow Wilson spent New Year’s Eve 2003 at a wild hotel bash outside Atlanta with a group of fellow teens.

After the party—which involved sex, alcohol and a notorious videotape—he and five other boys were charged with child molestation under a Georgia law that made having oral sex with anyone under 16 a felony.

Wilson, then 17, had engaged in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.  Refusing to take a plea deal and be branded a sex offender for life, the honor student and star athlete was slapped with a 10t-year prison sentence. He served two years behind bars before his release last week. 

In his first print interview since his release, Wilson, 21, speaks exclusively to Essence.com about the teen sex scandal that started it all, his time in prison and what he plans to do for the rest of his life.

 “Someone said it on the radio,” he tells Essence  on how he found out he was going to be released. “And I actually couldn’t believe it, though, because in June, I went through something similar when the courts ruled in my favor and my release was blocked because the State appealed. So I was like, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Then I was escorted up to the warden’s office, and he told me the Supreme Court had ruled in my favor. We were just waiting to hear from my attorney, and then they gave me the news that the State wasn’t going to appeal and that I would be released.”

“I can’t let my frustrations get the best of me,” he also tells Essence. “It’s not going to make matters any easier for me. Either way it goes, it’s still going to be hard for me. But now I get to start over. It’s a new beginning, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve turned all the negative energy into something positive.”

“I know that the decisions I made were not the best ones, and I did stuff that I probably shouldn’t have done that night,” the young man says, of that fateful night. “But I can’t go back and change anything, and for the most part I recognize my mistake.”


Read more exclusively on Essence.com now. 


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