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Alternate ending to the Genarlow Wilson Case: What If She Didn't Wake Up?

Regular readers of this blog know that I have repeatedly spoken out about how the defenders of Genarlow Wilson like to downplay the gruesome facts regarding what happened in the hotel room between Genarlow Wilson, his five buddies and two teenage girls that ended with his criminal charges.(Morehouse Man? Genarlow Wilson, Rapist and Child Pornographer Gets a Fresh Start- -What About the Girls, January 22, 2008) In particular, I have continued to point out how the 17- year-old girl has been completely excised from the Genarlow Wilson story. Here is a description of what happened to her:

The videotape was "Exhibit A" because it depicts a horrific crime: a gang rape of a semi-conscious, 17-year-old girl, followed by a bizarre display of sexual precociousness by a 15-year-old girl. That's the truth recorded by Genarlow and his friends that fateful night. I suspect that is also why Ms. Bernstein hated it whenever McDade used it to rebut her version of Genarlow's crime.

No matter how much (two glasses of Cognac) the 17-year-old may have had to drink, no matter how much she may have flirted with those boys, she did not consent to having sex with all of them, one right after the other. Yet it never occurred to the "smart" and "spiritual" Genarlow to say, "Stop it. We should not be doing this." No. Genarlow watched, waited and gladly took his turn. When they were through raping her, Genarlow helped his friends drag the comatose victim to the bathroom. They opened the door, pushed her in, watched as she fell to the floor and closed the door. I guess she wasn't much fun anymore. SOURCE
In the Genarlow Wilson case, the 17 year old girl woke up the next morning alone and naked in the hotel room. She had been left behind like trash by Mr. Wilson and his buddies once they got through with her. What if she didn't wake up the next morning.?

In a case eerily similar to what happened to the 17-year-old girl in the Genarlow Wilson case, a group of teens got together in a booze fueled party and when the girl passed out drunk, the two boys took turns raping her and then just like Genarlow Wilson and his buddies, they left her naked body laying there and walked away. Except unlike the 17-year-old girl in the Genarlow Wilson story, the 15-year-old in this case out of Philadelphia did not wake up:

At first, the circumstances of her death were a mystery. Then, investigators pieced together her last day of life - a day of horror, binge-drinking and what police say was rape.

Kierra, who would have turned 16 on May 24, decided to skip school that day and hang out with two male schoolmates, one 16 years old, the other 17, police said.

Kierra and the two other teens guzzled an assortment of hard liquor, including rum and peach schnapps, from a makeshift bar set up in the dining room, police said.The binge lasted hours. In a drunken haze, Kierra lost consciousness. That's when the boys took turns raping her, then left the house, police said. It's unclear if she was still alive.

When the 17-year-old boy's mother came home from a doctor's appointment at about 4 p.m., her son wasn't home.She discovered Kierra, half naked, on a weight bench in her basement, police said.But the mother didn't call police, said Homicide Lt. Philip Riehl, one of the investigators assigned to Kierra's case. Nor did she try to resuscitate her, he said.

The mother, who has one leg amputated and is battling cancer, told police she panicked, Riehl said.She waited about an hour until her son returned home. Then she called 9-1-1 for help, Riehl said. It's unclear what the teen told his mom.Medics pronounced Kierra dead at 5:08 p.m. at the 17-year-old's house.Kierra died of alcohol poisoning, said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Medical Examiner's Office. Her blood alcohol level was .433, five times the legal limit in Pennsylvania, police said.

The two boys have been charged with rape, indecent sexual assault, simple assault and conspiracy. They are charged as juveniles, but the District Attorney's Office has requested a certification hearing in Family Court to request that the boys be charged as adults. ( A wild but promising teen's life ends in a drunken, repellent act)

I know there are those of you who do not feel that it is a criminal act to have sex with an unconscious individual and then leave them behind like trash. In the minds of many, girls who drink around a group of guys deserve whatever happens to them. The boys on the other hand are not held to the same standard. Don't they deserve whatever happens to them, including criminal charges which may result?

I predict plenty of rallies on behalf of the boys. However, none for the girl's family... they'll be vilified eventually for having a daughter that was "too fast" or "hot to trot." The boy's families on the other hand will receive sympathy and support, because they are just "young boys" who "made error in judgment" they don't "deserve" to have to pay for their mistakes with "their lives." I don't predict any such sympathy for Kierra.

Let's just stipulate that the Kierra was not pure as the driven snow. To save everyone in the comments from chronicling her numerous failings and "bad acts." Y'all are going to do it anyway. She was kicked out of school for having sex on school grounds, she had a baby at the age of 14- no mention about the age of the father. This was a child with some serious issues and apparently the line of people who wanted to benefit from those issues was long.

I just wish the reporter Christine Olley had given us more insight into WHY. The article chronicles all the bad acts of a dead teenage Black girl who suffocated on her own vomit, but I know she didn't come into this world wanting to get pregnant at 13 and die at 15. There is a back story here and I wish they had been so eager to share that as they were to share a list of all of Kierra's transgressions. They told us she was "wild" but some helpful reporting might have sought to uncover "why." What pained this child so much that she had to drink enough alcohol to embalm herself?

Hat Tip to WAOD reader Monica G. for the story about Kierra Johnson. May she find the peace in death that clearly eluded her in life.

Reader Comments (33)

This is very sad. Her note for her mom really read like a good-bye note.

I'd really like to know what lead to her death. I'd also like to know why those boys felt it was OK to leave her there like that.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymiss

I actually wrote to the reporter to ask for a back story. The reporter claims that there is no history of abuse, the mother did everything in her power to keep her on the straight and narrow and the father of the baby is 15 years old.

SOMETHING is missing from this story because that girl had to be on a death wish to drink that much booze. What was she running from, what pain was she trying to numb.
Or acting out to the point she gets kicked out of school for having sex on campus. I just want to know WHY. Maybe if we knew WHY? we could address that.

As far as why they left her like that, the same reason they had sex with her unconscious body. she was nothing to them meaningless. Like trash. The mama didn't even try to resuscitate her or dial 911. No concern or compassion or at least not enough to overcome her "panic"

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

Maybe there is no REPORTED history of abuse (sexual or otherwise) but I think she suffered it in her past. I'm just not convinced that young girls with this much display of pain have not been abused in some way.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Pinky

I am not convinced either and how likely would the mother have been to tel the reporter about any abuse in the first place.

What can we do as complete strangers to offer hope to someone in THAT much pin that they are that self destructive?

Because there at a lot of Kierra s out there.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

I am troubled that we even know that Kierra had a "wild side." What possible relevance is that to her assault and death? Oh, I imagine it is titillating to readers, allows parents to point to Kierra's life as a cautionary tale, and does the defense attorney's work of dirtying up the victim, but what it the journalistic purpose? Had the victim been a straight-arrow student who made a single lapse in judgement by spening a day drinking with her male friends, it would not have changed the outcome of this story.

When a young boy is raped, do we learn about his "wild side." Have we learned of Natalie Holloway's sexual past? Black women (and girls), when the media deigns to cover crimes against us, are too often portrayed in a negative light.

I am disgusted to hear of yet another black girl treated as an expendable sex toy and an unimportant life by both black boys and a grown black woman. but I am also disgusted by the media coverage that seems to disrespect the victim.

P.S. Who thinks it is not criminal to have sex with an unconscious person? Really, who thinks that?

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTami

Well of course we know that she has a wild side. Did you see the foolishness the San Francisco police department said about Billie McGee being "sophisticated beyond her years" Billie McGee was 12-years old. It goes back to the concept of Black girls being required to be as pure as the driven snow in order to be victims, otherwise, no sympathy, especially if their attackers are the endangered young Black male.

Tami regarding the folks who don't think having sex with unconscious people is a criminal act...

Just go back and read the comments in my previous posts about Genarlow Wilson where his apologists try to argue that he isn't a rapist for having sex with an unconscious 17 year old girl. In fact she has been excised from all of the Genarlow Wilson stories and you should go read the ESPN article about the Wilson case. Clearly many people believe that it is not a criminal offense because in their minds any girl who consumes an intoxicant in the presence of men is "asking for it"

You just wait, til the rallies start.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

What has happened to the young women involved in the Genarlow Wilson case? Has he actually learned anything from this and expressed any real remorse or taken responsibility?

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfaith

Let me get this straight, urban kids from poor backgrounds are devoid of moral principles and sensibilities? I don't believe it.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchristopherlee

Faith. I am not aware of what happened to the 17 year old. The 15 year old whose own mother threw her under the bus was in the military last I heard.

Wilson has slyly said he did a stupid thing, but I am not aware of any apology being issued to the two girls in the case.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

it sounds to me that kierra was being abused and it had been going on for a long time.
you put m,any of the signs in your post gina.

and to add to the comment by christopherlee, many kids from different areas fit that discription. not all of any group-but many from all groups.

and the reason is because those are things (moral principles, cognative thinking, compassion, etc) that have to be taught to children. it is up to the parents/adults to display these charateristics by their conversations and actions. they may get some of it for a fw hours in school, but they spend more time away from school than there. so what good teachers give children sometimes gets washed out because the influences at home are so often and so many.
children learn from example.all people do on a whole. but for children, a few that see terrible, adult things starting at young ages will repeat what they have seen and heard and they grab it tightly.
for others, they do a flip and are the opposite of what they have seen. i have taught some children that were the greatest young people..i would meet people from their family and would immediately starting thinking...they Must have adopted this child!

that is very sad and sickening what happened to kierra. it is a shame that either she would not accept the hand of guidance that someone reached out to her with--or no one tried to reach out to her to give her an anchor.

but there is not doubt for me that she was being abused for years.

and i agree with tami, i am also so tired of black women and girls being treated like papertowels, esp by the very people that should be protecting us.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwisdomteachesme

This is horrible ,I don't even know what to say anymore. I love how the victims life is always dissected but not the perpetrators. What the hell is in these boys psyches make them commit such are horrible act? What are these kids parents teaching them?

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteral0196a

It’s the disposability aspect that cuts to the bone. Women give life. Not saying women must give life to be women, or superior or inferior if life is given, just saying that women give life. If the givers of life are so easily disposed of what does that say about the rest of humanity? At the risk of pathologising it, there seems to be a message of “I hate myself, I hate life, so fuck the giver of life.”

It’s very horrible. And as much as I try to understand other women defending boys/men who commit these crimes, I cannot help but feel betrayed every time.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKitty Glendower

Kitty said:
“I hate myself, I hate life, so fuck the giver of life.”

That's my sentiments exactly. Just didn't quite know how to say it in a non-religious way.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

Sometimes when I hear stories like this-- and having counseled gangbangers, drug addicts and violent men, and abused women, i've heard plenty-- I can't think of a young girl's "wild side";

I can only sit and just...feel sad...feel that, as an African American adult male, i've missed something, that my generation of black men, even those of us who have tried, have failed to translate something very basic yet very precious to many of these black boys: How to really be a man-- how being a man is being strong enough to say "I won't do this"/how to love enough to build oneself and others up, and not just take, no matter whom it hurts.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMacDaddy

@mac daddy , in fact the message has been completely opposite. Get rich or die trying. Getting as much as you can at all costs. Where the only values are take or get tooken.

I can't even comprehend what 20 years from now will look like with a couple of generations of kids in the pipeline who due to improper parenting and exposure to a violent materialistic fame-centered culture have developed devoid of compassion or empathy.

I think about our video games vs the video games today. The goal used to be to rescue someone or free someone, now you get points for destroying anything and everything in your path including innocent bystanders.

Its like we've been fertilizing the very worst of human nature and ignoring the very best. Or making it seem weak to think about your fellow man/ woman.

It really does look like Lord of the Flies

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

I just reread this post, especially the Genarlow Wilson's part, how this 17 year old girl was "excised" from the story. I've lived in Atlanta, Georgia. I've read many articles and editorials about the case, including commentaries by Cynthia Tucker, black editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and others from the jump. Now, my memory may be failing me, but I can't remember one article or commentary about this girl: What she went through that night, what she will probably go through psychologically in trying to deal with this for the rest of her life-- what many girls go through in dealing with date rape, which is common in this country.

As I recall, articles and editorials focused on the "injustice" of Genarlow, a black boy, getting such a long sentence for the crime, orchestrated by a white criminal justice system.

If i'm right, I think it says something about the level to which we value women of any age in the US.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMacDaddy

When I read this story it saddened me beyond belief. I just thought about how this girl never got to finish her life properly and live up to her full potential. She might have had some trouble in the past, but who knows what she could've been. She was certainly young enough to turn it all around. Everybody can turn it around. It's heart breaking to think that her fate was sealed at such a young age. And to die in that manner - alone, with not one caring heart to rescue you brings me to tears. It just so hard for my mind to wrap around how someone that young can be treated that way and die in such a terrible manner.

As for the young boys. This is perfect example of the price black women pay for having no value placed on their lives. I'm sure those boys would've have thought twice about what they did if that was a young white girl or if that was a black girl who was the preachers daughter on a honor roll student. This idea that you can mistreat a young woman because she is black or because she has reputation or because she's poor, or because she has no one who cares for her is costing us dearly. We have to start making people pay a heaving price for the lives of black people. We also have to stop making woman and young girls prove that they are worthy of being considered a victim by delving into their past. If someone commits a crime against you, you are the victim - period. Everyone's live has equal value.

Finally, we have to stop painting stories like this one or Genarlow's as tragedies only because these young black men made bad decisions that have altered the course of their lives. These are tragedies because a human life was violated. I'm sure a lot of mothers read stories like this and tell their sons to watch what they do because they don't want to get in trouble like this. But the real moral to the story is to always respect people even if no one else is respecting them and to operate with your own set of morals and set standards for how you treat people regardless of what anyone else thinks of them.

I don't know what's going on with teenagers in general - white, black whatever. I know every generation thinks that the generation after them is worse, but I have to say, something is different with the teenagers of today. I think some kids today are extremely antisocial and when they do engage with each other they take the "pack mentality" to a whole new level. It's like some teens have become incapable of seeing the humanity in each other.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteriman


You didn't misread, they completely erased the 17 year old girl from any news articles. Seems in order to fit the Genarlow Wilson redemption arc they had to leave out the violation of the 17 year old. The 15 year old they could parse words and say "she wasn't physically forced," but the unconcious, possibly drugged 17 year old, is an inconvenient truth.


there is a part of me that hopes that I like many in my parent's parent's generation were wrong. That maybe it is my old age ( early 30s) that makes this group of kids coming up behind us look like out of control little socipaths, but there is a part of me that thinks that civilization is undergoing a fundamental shift.

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

g-e-m2001 You asked what can strangers do to offer hope to someone in that much pain. Start seeing all little girls as our daughter and not someone else's child. Since she is our child, we could drop the judgments, "hot," fast," whatever and make a little room for her in our lives. Correct, there are many young women such as she and what they need is love and compassion. Stop making assumptions and listen. We don't know her truth until she tells her story. Also, stop assuming that these are incidents only for the poor, I assure you that these events take place in the lives of the preacher's daughter and the A students. Families with better resources have the ability to hide the facts from the public.

My heart bleeds for this daughter of mine.

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterYejide Travis

"What can we do as complete strangers to offer hope to someone in THAT much pin that they are that self destructive?

Because there at a lot of Kierra s out there."


This is where I get completely stuck...it's a problem so overwhelming and widespread; I don't even know how to begin.

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Pinky

What is very sad about this case for me is that I could have been that young girl. When I was a teenager and in collge, I was a "wild child." Why? I don't know, because I could I guess. That was many, many years ago.

For me, it's not important to know why she was like that; a parent can do all the right things as my mother did and the child will do what they want, that's life. What bothers me is that the boys left her for dead. Who cares why Kierra was wild? Every human being's personhood should be respected, wild child or not.

Here's the why I'd like to know. Why did these boys think it was all right to leave an unconscious person on the floor like garbage? What happened in their upbringing?

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLittleEva

I see this type of attitude and behavior at work everyday...The parents are not "raising" tbeir children...They simply house the kids and do not teach them anything...The children run wild....I cannot even say like wolves, because wolves actually do rear their cubs...No control is taken over the music listened to, videos played, nor TV watched...I agree with GEM & Iman, and shudder to think what the next 20 years will be in store for all of us....Remember, everyone is going to live next to, teach, and exist with these children...We need men back in the homes taking their rightful place...

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCW

*SIGH* It's stuff like this that keeps me basically single and childless.

My knee jerk reaction to this would have been to hunt down the boys and beat them until I felt I had gotten the years of my daughter's life back.

How could a woman be so cold to another woman? This could have been her daughter, would she be so unaffected then?

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBLKSeaGoat

Sorry, I did not see the video, I don't watch porno. But the appeals court ruled that Genarlow Wilson's punishment of a 10-year sentence was "cruel and unusual". I trusted the judges verdict. If anyone has a thirst for revenge, that's on them, and has nothing to do with justice.

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEddie G. Griffin

Thank you for this most remarkable post!
It is truly, in the spirit of
"What About Our Daughters."
You were a voice in the wilderness speaking for THE SURVIVORS in the Dunbar Rape case, when no one else was, and back in January, you introduced us to the previously unknown 17 yo survivor of gang rape, in the Genarlow Wilson case

The reason why this 17 yo was largely unknown to the public,
is because rightly or wrongly, a jury ACQUITTED GENERLAW of participating in her gang rape ... in less than an hour!


Technacalitys aside, the murder of 15 yo KIERRA JOHNSON in the course of being raped, underscores the points your are making in Generlaw's case.
We need to advocate for the survivors of these brutal crimes,
and even better, prevent them from happening!

(Assata Shakur writes in her autobiography ASSATA, that she thwarted her own gang rape in a friend's mother's house, by threatening to knock down all the lamps and break all the furniture.
The boy was afraid he would be punished for breaking his mother's furniture, so he withdrew, sending everyone home.)

We can protect OUR AT RISK DAUGHTERS by supporting:

1) SEX EDUCATION in Middle School, or sooner,



Sex Education, which includes knowing your feelings and your body, as well as discussions of relationships and parenting, is NOT required in Pennsylvania where Kierra's rape and murder took place. http://www.sexetc.org/state/PA/

Susan Taylor, the Executive Editor of Essence recently left her position after 17 years to devote full time to the ESSENCE CARES MENTORING PROGRAM, which she founded.
In every locality, there are mentoring programs. There is also the BIG SISTER'S program. Surely there are several mentoring programs for high risk girls like Kierra in Philadelphia.
(Girls sports programs are also helpful in this regard.)

If Kierra had received classes in FAMILY LIVING AND SEX EDUCATION, and had a MENTOR, or participated in GIRLS SPORTS, most likely she would be alive today!

The BLACK FEMALE AGENDA'S, and PLANS OF ACTION which exist on several of your sister blogs,
must be amended to include MENTORING & EDUCATING our less fortunate baby sisters!

If we amend our agenda's and take action, Kierra will not have died in vain!

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersevenofnine

I care about whether she was abused (whoever she is, because she is so many), but I don't care if that's what made her drink. I don't care if she was just thirsty and thought it was water.

I am tired to the bone of the measure of whether a woman deserved to be raped or not being how capable she was to ward off the apparently endless supply of constantly hovering would-be rapists in her vicinity.

I had no idea that this was part of the Genarlow Wilson case, and had not heard of the case involving Kierra.

Thank you for writing this post. I am linking it. I got here via Aaminah's blog.

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Kelly

Nobody said anything about revenge. I respect the verdict of the Jury, not because I agree, but because that is the system I have to t live by, but there is a great distinction between a legal determination of guilty or not guilty and the moral determination of INNOCENCE.

I don't have a problem with people challenging the constitutionality of anything. that is their right. What I have a problem with is minimizing his crime in order to do so. You indicated several times that what he did to those girls was basically no big deal.

I have a problem with him being given a full scholarship to morehouse, because he didn't do anything to earn it other than brutalize one girls body while she was unconcious before dumping her on the floor like trash.

genarlwo Wilson is not a saint. he is not a hero. I haven't called for him to be carted off to jail. I will continue to bring up the 17 year old that everyone HAS to forget in order to maintain the fascade that Mr. Wilson was a fine upstanding young gent who was caught up in the clutches of "the system due to no fault of his own"

he wasn't a fine upstanding young man.

So fine, you got him free, but I cry foul on the scholarships and the awards and sitting him the VIP section at the MLK celebrations in Atlanta as if he was sort of civil rights icon. he's a predatory fool who got lucky, that's all.

Pointing thtat out does not make me vengeful, just observant.

As far as the need to know why. I gues that was my initial response to the piece. I couldn't figure out why it was necessary to go down kierra's rap sheet in an article about her brutal death.

to me if you were going to go down a rap sheet, it should have been her attackers.

But I cosign on this idea that Black women seem to have to prove their innocence or their worthiness to be a victim of crime. If they are flawed in anyway, they somehow deserved whatever befell them. Thanks for reading

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterg-e-m2001

Oh boy! Here we go again!
http://www.hairsmystory.com" REL="nofollow">hairsmystory.com

Not only why she drank all that liquor but why did she feel compelled to write that heart breaking letter to her mother? It doesn't matter what she's done in her past, no one deserves to be treated or die like that. And clearly the behavior of the children is indicative of the upbringing. You find a half naked girl passed out & you leave her there? Thats a problem.

April 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKieya

I'd like to address my comments to Tami and G-E-M. The reporter Christine Olley, who broke Kierra's story, was unusual in getting to interview her mother who told her the story of Kierra's life. Usually in these situations, the family is too distraught to talk. Although her mother didn't speak of abuse, to the trained eye, Kierra's story fits the pattern of an abused, or at risk child.
This is not the same as a rap sheet, since the abuse is something which was done to her and which she is communicating to the world by her reckless or self destructive behavior.
In speaking to the reporter, Kierra's mother was reaching out for help for her daughter, if ineffectively, the way she may have done on occasion in the past, but only this time it was too late!

by Jody Raphael, is the true story
of a girl like Kierra, who worked for a number of years, in a strip club, much like the Kaluha.
The Kaluha is where Sean Bell (RIP) along with his father!,
and his friends, chose to go,
on the night before Sean's wedding.
Olivia, who is our sister, went on to become addicted to heroin at the strip club, and spent the next 10-15 years as a drug addicted prostitute. Jodi Raphael and others, helped mentor Olivia and today she is a productive member of society working as a Drug Addiction Counselor.

Having a Big Brother or mentor, may have helped boys like Genarlow and Sean, make better choices, and girls like Kierra and Olivia, get the help they needed - when they needed it!

April 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersevenofnine

I mean this with all due respect, and I hope it is not an ignorant thing to say - wouldn't Sean Bell have benefitted more from the police officers who killed him making better choices?

May 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Kelly

[...] is too much in terms of years between teen couples? (Re the Wilson case, I must say that there are issues of consent that I am not too comfy with). Frankly as long as the sex is consensual and between people in their [...]

Thank you so much for this story. I've had three people send me the story of Genarlow because they feel the sex offender registry punishes teen consensual sex. Of course that's bull, but to prove me wrong, this is the story they sent me. I KNEW there had to be more to it. This makes perfect sense now. You are a wonderful writer and I will subscribe to your blog from now on. Thank you again!

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

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