AFRICANGLOBE – The case of Albert N. Wilson sounds like something out of an episode of Law and Order SVU. Wilson, a former University of Kansas student, attended a bar with a friend and met a girl who was visiting a family member who attended KU. The two were underage and under the influence when they left the bar to go back to Wilson’s apartment. What happened next has changed both of their lives, leaving Wilson with a sentence of over 12 years in prison for rape, despite the notion that the two didn’t have sex.
Lawrence Journal-World reports Wilson was given the sentence on Wednesday (April 3) in addition to a lifetime of probation and a mandatory sex offender title for the events that transpired in September 2016. Wilson, who was 20 at the time, met the then-17-year-old girl at popular college spot Jayhawk Cafe. While Wilson used a friend’s ID to get into the bar, the young woman and her cousin who attended KU weren’t carded.
Both parties agreed that they met while heading to the dance floor (weirdly titled the “Boom Boom Room”) and danced with one another. Wilson allegedly lifted up the girl’s skirt and touched her while they kissed. Shortly after, Wilson invited the girl back to his place, which was walking distance from the bar. Neither party apparently asked about each other’s age.
The victim claimed Wilson took her back to his place where he raped her but Wilson shared a different story with the jury. “She didn’t seem intoxicated at all,” Wilson said as he claimed the two kissed and engaged in other sex acts but never had sexual intercourse.
Kansas Bureau of Investigation scientists testified that Wilson’s DNA was found on the girl’s chest — where he said he kissed her — but no seminal fluid or DNA was found. Swabs were collected from the girl the day after the incident from a nurse a local hospital. Photos of bruises were also taken on her inner thigh.
During the trial, Wilson maintained his innocence and explained why he initially claimed he didn’t remember what happened at his apartment. “I don’t know how to explain this, but I come from a different background than you, ma’am,” said Wilson, who is Black to Judge Sally Pokorny, who is white. “… I just felt like the police [were] against me at that point.”
Wilson’s court-appointed attorney Forrest Lowry stated that the former student wasn’t the man he was painted to be in the trial. The now 23-year-old was a Wichita Southeast High School football player with no criminal record. He earned his associate degree from a community college before transferring to KU and had dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
“It was a chance meeting. Obviously, my client misread what was going on,” Lowry said in court. “…If there was ever a case that deserved a departure of any kind, I think this is it.”
After a six-hour deliberation, the all-white jury convicted Wilson of rape. Wilson was given the reported “lowest end of what’s called for by Kansas sentencing guidelines for rape.”
The case has gained attention, including supporters creating a website detailing some questionable aspects of the incident. Video surveillance showed the two engaging with one another throughout their encounter and that they were only at the apartment for five minutes before they headed back to the bar.
Many have questioned why Wilson was given a lengthy sentence but actual convicted rapists like Brock Turner were given lighter sentences.
Read more details of the case here and see reactions below.