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Genarlow Wilson: Plea deal would have left me without a home

  • Story Highlights
  • Genarlow Wilson: Accepting plea deal would have left him without a home
  • Wilson, 21, promises to be more conservative, alert and thankful in future
  • He plans to study sociology in college -- "I feel like I've been living my major"
  • Wilson served two years in prison after consensual oral sex with teen girl
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Genarlow Wilson, freed last week from a Georgia prison, said he's glad he rejected a plea deal from prosecutors, even if it would have sprung him from prison months earlier.


Genarlow Wilson tells CNN on Sunday that he will be more conservative and alert in the future.

The 21-year-old, who served two years of a 10-year sentence for aggravated child molestation, said the prospect of being labeled a sex offender drove him to turn down the deal. He had to think about his 9-year-old sister and having a family of his own one day, he said Sunday.

"It might've been lesser time, but then again, I would have nowhere to go because I would have no home," Wilson said during a CNN interview scheduled to air Monday at 8 p.m.

"I wouldn't be able to stay with my mother because I have a little sister. You know, when you're a sex offender you can't be around kids. Basically, I can't even have kids myself, you know, so what is the point of life?" he asked.

In 2005, a jury found Wilson guilty of aggravated child molestation for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a 2003 New Year's Eve party. Wilson was 17 at the time of the party. Video Watch Wilson say why he rejected the plea deal »

The conviction carried a 10-year mandatory prison sentence and a sex offender designation.

According to Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, prosecutors in Douglas County, Georgia, offered Wilson a plea deal that would have reduced his sentence, possibly to time served, and would have eventually removed the conviction and sex offender status from his record.

Defense attorney B.J. Bernstein said in June that Wilson rejected the deal because he didn't want to plead guilty to a felony with a 15-year sentence.

The state Legislature last year amended the law under which Wilson was convicted, making such sexual encounters misdemeanors. However, the Legislature did not make the law retroactive, so it had no effect on Wilson's sentence.

Now 21, Wilson was released Friday after the state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the young man's sentence "constitutes cruel and unusual punishment."

Wilson said Sunday he feels no "negative energy" toward District Attorney David McDade, who fought efforts to have Wilson's sentence reduced. Instead, Wilson said, he is focused on the future and hopes to soon immerse himself in his college studies.

He wants to major in sociology, he said, "because I feel like I've been living my major."

The new Genarlow Wilson will be more conservative, more alert and more appreciative of the blessings bestowed upon him, he said.

"When it seems like you have everything, you know, you feel like you have no worries until it's all gone, and I know what it feels like to be without and I don't want to ever feel like that again," said the former honor student, football star and homecoming king. "I don't ever want to see the inside of a prison or a prison, period."

Though he called his sentence "absurd," Wilson said he understands that prosecutors "were doing their job and they felt they were carrying out the law."


Wilson also said he knows what he did was foolish.

"I was young then. I did some idiotic things in my teen years, but you know, every average teen does," he said. "I don't think any of us made very wise decisions, but I don't think that any of us can go back then and change what happened." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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