A 20 year-old was arrested at a Smyrna Starbucks earlier this month for meeting a Cobb County teen with whom he allegedly had a consensual sexual relationship in the past.
William Perry McIntyre faces aggravated child molestation charges and a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison for having a consensual sexual relationship with a person six years his junior.
The scenario highlights the harshness and overbreadth of Georgia’s sex offense laws, which routinely charge young people who had consensual sex with serious felonies that can result in decades in prison.
Police say McIntyre picked the 14 year-old up from a bus stop on Feb. 10, 2012, and the two went to a hotel where the crimes occurred. After the incident was reported, police used the alleged victim’s Facebook account and phone to receive communications from McIntyre. Investigators continued the online communications and then arrested McIntyre when he attempted to meet the teen at a Starbucks in Smyrna. The arrest warrant alleges that in one message McIntyre stated that he wished to return to the same hotel room with the alleged victim.
Had McIntyre been just 2 years younger, he would be charged with only a misdemeanor offense and would be facing a maximum sentence of just 12 months in jail. Georgia legislators need to recognize that our laws fail to provide any middle ground for alleged offenders who fall just outside the cusp of the age range for misdemeanor punishment. A 12 month sentence for an 18 year-old while a 20 year-old faces 25 years for the same crime? This disparity is unjust and unacceptable.
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