Judge removes Harlem woman from sex offender list

Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 7:46 AM
Last updated 7:47 AM
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ATLANTA -- The Harlem woman listed as the lead plaintiff challenging Georgia's sex-offender law won permission Friday from a McDuffie County judge to have her name removed from the state's sex-offender registry.

Wendy Whitaker had just turned 17 when she had consensual oral sex once with another high school sophomore three weeks shy of his 16th birthday. Her conviction 12 years ago for that act, which would not be illegal for someone that age today, required her listing on the state's sex-offender database, complete with photo and address.

The Southern Center for Human Rights named her as the lead plaintiff when it filed suit in 2006 in federal district court in Rome, Ga., challenging the law. Even though recent changes in the law allowed Whitaker to get off the registry after convincing a judge she was no threat of a repeat offense, her name is still used in referring to the case.

Wednesday, the lawyers for the Southern Center filed a new request with the federal court to rule in their favor.

The original law forced Whitaker to move from the home she and her husband bought in Harlem because it was within 1,000 feet of a daycare center. Then they moved in with his brother in his mobile home but had to move again when a revision to the law added a prohibition against registered sex offenders living within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.

"I am so relieved that this horrible rollercoaster is finally ending," said Whitaker, age 31. "For years I've lived at my wit's end and in a constant state of stress because I never know what's going to happen to my family and our home."

Comments (24) Add comment
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corgimom
31169
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corgimom 09/18/10 - 07:52 am
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It's about time!

It's about time!

Junket831
0
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Junket831 09/18/10 - 08:01 am
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Agreed Corgi! In the Court of

Agreed Corgi! In the Court of Common Sense this is the right decision.

Quack Quack Quack
0
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Quack Quack Quack 09/18/10 - 08:09 am
0
0
Amen!!

Amen!!

Abby-noll
0
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Abby-noll 09/18/10 - 08:12 am
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"Wendy Whitaker had just

"Wendy Whitaker had just turned 17 when she had consensual oral sex once with another high school sophomore three weeks shy of his 16th birthday. Her conviction 12 years ago for that act, which would not be illegal for someone that age today"

Inaccurate! The age of consent in the state of Georgia is 16! Granted, this is a misdemeanor, but it's still an illegal act. 3 weeks shy of 16 is still only 15. I wonder if people would be so agreeable if the 17 yr old was male and the 15 yr old was female?

corgimom
31169
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corgimom 09/18/10 - 08:37 am
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Sex between two teenagers

Sex between two teenagers that are 2 years or less apart in age is no longer grounds to prosecute as a sex offense.

And yes, it applies to males and females. I would feel the same way if it was a male.

The discussion was about her being on the sex offender list, Abby, which was a travesty of justice from the start.

Riverman1
82247
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Riverman1 09/18/10 - 08:46 am
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Abby-noll, I understand what

Abby-noll, I understand what you are saying about the age of consent being 16, but hasn't the law also been changed to protect the older person if he/she was under 18 and the other party was 15? Isn't that what the Genarlo Wilson deal was about?

boredinaug
97
Points
boredinaug 09/18/10 - 08:42 am
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0
BIG DIFFERENCE between teen

BIG DIFFERENCE between teen consensual sex and perverts molesting children. I'd prefer for teenagers to wait, but we all know that's not reality. It's sad to think that someone can ruin their whole lives by having sex with their almost 16 year old boyfriend when they just turned 17 themselves. COME ON Abby, don't you think the sex offender's registry looses a little validity in cases like this? Is this woman REALLY a threat to other 15 year old boys, 12 years later??? The point of the Sex Offender's Registry is to warn society of the presence of these predators in their neighborhoods. Unless I am mistaken, this woman is not a predator. Just ridiculous.

Fawkes
48
Points
Fawkes 09/18/10 - 09:25 am
0
0
They dont mention that sex

They dont mention that sex offender requirements also limit where you can work. How many jobs are not within 1000ft in any direction of a church, school, daycare or public building.

worldhistory
0
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worldhistory 09/18/10 - 09:26 am
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Its about time. Im happy for

Its about time. Im happy for Wendy.

disssman
6
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disssman 09/18/10 - 09:54 am
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Boredinaugusta. Right on.

Boredinaugusta. Right on. The sex offender list is about as good as handicapped parking. Both were very good programs at the start, but we started adding things to them that now we don't know what a sex offender is and everyone has a handicapped parking permit.

follower
59
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follower 09/18/10 - 10:29 am
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This law scares me more than

This law scares me more than any law on the books. I don't let a female vendor/salesperson in my office without the door being open. Allegations alone almost destroyed the life of a friend, as his name was in the paper for almost 2 years until he was found innocent of supposedly inappropriate remarks to an employee.

Bored, you are correct. Best if they wait, but shouldn't be branded for life for that type of mistake. Even murderers don't have the public stigma of having their life on display on a website. Molesters I have no use for and don't care if they have to wear a mark on their forehead. But out of control hormones and lack of discretion shouldn't brand them for life. That's not an illness, just lack of self control and judgement.

This law needs to be revisited and revised in a big way.

yawningloudly
0
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yawningloudly 09/18/10 - 10:42 am
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thankfully these laws are

thankfully these laws are being amended it is a real shame parents would ruin someones life because they find out their little angels arent angels at all...i dont care who you are or where you were raised at ....at one time or another during our teen and high school years any if not 80 percent of us were always a phone call away from being placed on this registry when we were in school we didnt check ids when we dated around this gos for guys and girls

follower
59
Points
follower 09/18/10 - 10:55 am
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yawning, I agree with your

yawning, I agree with your post, but it still helps if you use punctuation. You have good thoughts. Make them credible with proper grammer.

It's very difficult for the older posters here [me] to read. I'm not trying to criticize, just encourage.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 09/18/10 - 11:01 am
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This situation was idiotic,
Unpublished

This situation was idiotic, took too long to correct, but I'm happy for the woman and her family.

yawningloudly
0
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yawningloudly 09/18/10 - 12:19 pm
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lol yeah

lol yeah

sassygirl3914
0
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sassygirl3914 09/18/10 - 12:39 pm
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good..her name should have

good..her name should have never been on that to begin with..good job for never giving up

yawningloudly
0
Points
yawningloudly 09/18/10 - 02:10 pm
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0
the wilson case was different

the wilson case was different before the law change, oral sex was deemed aggravated sexual assault when someone was underage.......it was one of gas seven deadly sins.......by definition the act of oral sex was a big time felony and sex was still deemed a misdemeanor

yawningloudly
0
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yawningloudly 09/18/10 - 02:13 pm
0
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it wasjust the way the law

it wasjust the way the law was written part ofthat sodomy thing people seem to think that doesnt exist in the law books its still there and they can still apply if they want thats why wilsons future was ruined and he almost had to do ten years in prison.......personally i think sex is a whole lot worse but it was just the way the law was written

yawningloudly
0
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yawningloudly 09/18/10 - 02:14 pm
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i know i know punctuation :}

i know i know punctuation :}

follower
59
Points
follower 09/18/10 - 02:43 pm
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yawn...... ;)

yawn...... ;)

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 09/18/10 - 05:19 pm
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It took way to long to right

It took way to long to right this injustice but it finally happened.

dougk
3
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dougk 09/18/10 - 06:30 pm
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Well, the mouth is no place
Unpublished

Well, the mouth is no place for "foreign objects" no matter what the age.

cricketflea
3
Points
cricketflea 09/19/10 - 09:00 am
0
0
I agree with all here!! It

I agree with all here!! It took WAY too long to right this injustice. Way to go, Wendy for never giving up!!

The laws really need to be re-done to encompass the teenage hormones. What is wrong with making the law concerning this to be a three-strike "affair" for the teens with the raging hormones?

FLgirl
24
Points
FLgirl 09/21/10 - 11:02 am
0
0
Follower, you are right, that

Follower, you are right, that is the scariest stuff to me, and I am female. I had to try to teach my (now 23 yr old) son about this stuff when he was a teen, and still have to remind him sometimes that in these types of cases NOBODY is innocent, and they will be crucified. And somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but the angry parent doesn't have to be the one bringing charges, right? Even if they try to step back later, once they report it, the state is obligated to press charges...

Abby-noll
0
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Abby-noll 09/22/10 - 02:13 am
0
0
Riverman..."Abby-noll, I

Riverman..."Abby-noll, I understand what you are saying about the age of consent being 16, but hasn't the law also been changed to protect the older person if he/she was under 18 and the other party was 15? Isn't that what the Genarlo Wilson deal was about?"

Yes, the law has been changed... if the person is under the age of 16 and the offender is less than 3 years older then it's just a misdemeanor. This helps protect those "Jack & Jill" romances.

As to the others, I agree that I don't believe she's a sexual predator. I have said repeatedly (I've volunteered for SATF and several other groups regarding sexual abuse) I believe there needs to be some definition as to WHO is a sexual predator and who needs to actually be listed on the Sex Offenders list. As it stands now it does not have an affect because kids who are 15 and having sex, then the boyfriend or girlfriend turn 16 before the other suddenly we have a "sex offender" on our hands. This I do NOT agree with.

Sodomy is no longer a charge that is used, Aggravated Sodomy is. The Sodomy law is in the process of repeal and Aggravated Sodomy is when it's done against someone's will, not consensual.

I was only saying that based on the law she is considered a sex offender. Yes, the law needs to change and I'm glad she managed to keep fighting long enough to get off the list.

rcandrews
127
Points
rcandrews 10/12/10 - 03:48 pm
0
0
The people who put this woman

The people who put this woman on this list and for those who kept her on it should be forced to pay restitution to the woman and to the tax payers for any and all damages.

What they did was and is far more criminal than what this woman did when she was a teenager.

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