EDIT - sadly escaping didn't work.
I encountered this same problem, there is a JIRA for it. https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONF-24880
I however was able to workaround by creating a custom User Macro:
## @paramName:title=email|type=string|required=true|desc=Email Address
## @paramLink:title=text|type=string|desc=Link Text
#set ($url = $paramName)
#set ($linktext = $paramLink)
#set ($linktext = $url)
<a href =mailto:$url>$linktext</a>
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