ATLANTA — Genarlow Wilson had every reason to be bitter.
At 17-years-old, he was a standout athlete and student. However, his life took a side step.
“So many times, I’ve contemplated on why I went through this experience,” he mentioned.
In 2005, a jury found Wilson guilty of aggravated child molestation for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl during a 2003 New Year’s Eve hotel party involving alcohol and drugs.
Although it was consensual, it was still considered illegal under Georgia law.
“I went through this purpose for a reason. I went through this situation to be an agent of change,” Wilson said.
RELATED: Wilson to Attend Morehouse College
He was sentenced to a decade behind bars.
However, after the help of several powerful people, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned Wilson’s ten-year sentence.
He was released in 2007.
“I was able to graduate college, but I still had an uphill battle that I had to fight. I changed a law, but it wasn’t made retroactive, so it didn’t apply so I was still a felon,” Wilson explained.
He admits it wasn’t an easy transition. Now, at 33, the father and Morehouse College graduate is dedicated to giving back.
With the help of friends, he started the non-profit HOGS, Helping Others Generate Success.
“We’ve helped sponsor a couple of families for Christmas,” Wilson said.
RELATED: Genarlow Wilson Honored by NAACP
The group recently helped organize a back to school event in DeKalb County.
“One of my right-hand men, his name is Caison, we actually went back to the prison where I was located, and we mentored like 70 juveniles and took them hygiene items and food items,” he mentioned.
They also bought Southlake AMC movie theater for a group of young people to go see the Brian Banks movie.
“I’m grateful for all of the people I’ve encountered in my life. I would say that this the beginning for me, because I still look to do a whole lot more,” Wilson stated.
Wilson also works for the City of Atlanta now and works in a program called Restore Atlanta.
He said he wants to continue to mentor and expand the reach of his organization, HOGS.
RELATED: Genarlow Wilson Freed From Prison
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