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Judge denies bail in consensual teen sex case

/ Source: The Associated Press

A man who had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 is not eligible for bail while appealing his 10-year prison sentence, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling is likely to mean that 21-year-old Genarlow Wilson will remain behind bars for several more months at least.

In Wednesday's ruling, Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson said Wilson's conviction for one of the so-called seven deadly sins, under Georgia law, makes him ineligible for bail. He canceled a hearing that had been scheduled for July 5.

The Georgia Supreme Court is not set to hear his appeal of his term for aggravated child molestation until October. The justices, without explanation, denied a motion by state Attorney General Thurbert Baker to expedite the appeal.

Wilson has served more than 28 months of his 10-year mandatory sentence for receiving oral sex at a 2003 New Year's Eve Party. The law has since been changed by Georgia lawmakers, but the state's top court said the new law could not be applied retroactively.

A Monroe County judge earlier this month called Wilson's sentence "a grave miscarriage of justice" and ordered his release, but Baker's office appealed, saying that judge overstepped his authority. Baker argued that the ruling could result in the release of some 1,300 child molesters from Georgia's jails.

Wilson's lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, said she will appeal Emerson's decision to deny bond, and will seek expedited review. Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, whose office convicted Wilson, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Earlier this week, prominent New York City investment manager Whitney Tilson and 10 others volunteered to provide $1 million bail money for Wilson.