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UPDATE: Hearing on whether to unseal rape files continued
Stafford prosecutor wants at least part of juvenile's record open to respond to critics

UPDATE:
A hearing this morning to decide whether at least part of the court file of a teen convicted of rape should be made public was continued until next Thursday at the request of the boy’s attorneys.

Juvenile Court Judge Julian Johnson will also be evaluating whether he has jurisdiction to rule in the case.

Stafford Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen made the request to open the file after a Feb. 5 report in The Free Lance–Star that quoted the boy’s father, the mother of his alleged victim and his current attorneys as saying the boy is innocent.

During this morning’s hearing, Olsen objected to postponing a decision on his request, saying he wanted to correct the information without delay.

The boy was brought to the hearing from the Department of Juvenile Justice facility where he is currently being held.

- Pamela Gould, The Free Lance-Star

Date published: 2/12/2009

By PAMELA GOULD

Stafford County prosecutor Eric Olsen has asked for a hearing in juvenile court this morning to make public at least part of the file of a teenager he prosecuted on a rape charge the alleged victim has now recanted.

In the motion filed in Stafford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Tuesday, Olsen said his actions were prompted by his "need to comment on the case and to correct the inaccurate and incomplete information provided by the defendant or on his behalf."

Olsen cited a Feb. 5 report in The Free Lance-Star that quoted the teen's father, the alleged victim's mother and two attorneys now representing the teen, all of whom say he is innocent.

Deirdre Enright, director of the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia Law School, and Andrew K. Block Jr., legal director of JustChildren, an advocacy program of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, have asked Department of Juvenile Justice Director Barry R. Green to release the teen.

They also said they plan to file legal appeals in an effort to overturn the former Aquia Harbour teen's 2007 convictions on rape and breaking and entering charges and get his name off the state's sex-offender registry.

Olsen declined to comment on the case for the Feb. 5 report but states in the motion filed this week that he should no longer be bound by laws restricting him from releasing information on juvenile defendants.

The boy "forfeited his right to rely on Virginia's confidentiality laws" because of comments made by his father and attorneys currently representing him, the motion states. Olsen alleges they released confidential information.

Enright said yesterday that she and Block were aware of Olsen's motion, have filed a response with the court and will be in Stafford this morning to represent their client.

The boy was 15 in June 2007 when he was accused of breaking into the home of the 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her. Despite maintaining his son's innocence, the youth's father agreed to have him plead guilty to avoid the risk of him ending up in an adult prison.

Shortly after the incident, the prosecutor's office had notified the family of its intent to try the boy as an adult.

On Thanksgiving weekend 2007--more than two months after the boy was sentenced--the girl told her mother she lied about being raped to avoid getting into trouble.

The girl's mother went to an attorney for advice and then contacted the boy's court-appointed attorney, Denise Rafferty. Rafferty asked that she provide an affidavit from the girl, which she did.

Rafferty and Fredericksburg attorney Joseph Brown both filed appeals on the boy's behalf but were unsuccessful in getting the case overturned or him freed.

Olsen notified Rafferty and Brown of his motion this week but not the youth's current attorneys.

Rafferty did not respond to the newspaper's attempts to contact her. Brown said he no longer represents the boy and was leaving the matter in the hands of Enright and Block.

The boy's parents could not be reached for comment.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com