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Former Aquia Harbour teen files suit in attempt to clear his name in recanted rape accusation
BY PAMELA GOULD
A former Aquia Harbour teen who spent 17 months incarcerated for a rape, even though his accuser recanted her accusation, is suing the state Department of Juvenile Justice to clear his name and get off the state's sex-offender registry.
The lawsuit claims the teen's court-appointed attorney, Denise Rafferty of Stafford County, violated his constitutional rights by providing ineffective counsel.
Specifically, she is accused of failing to investigate the claims against her client, of failing to interview him, of failing to investigate his and his accuser's backgrounds, of misrepresenting the evidence against him and of ignoring an eyewitness. She also is accused of not properly informing him of the allegations against him and of his legal options before recommending he plead guilty to charges of rape and breaking and entering.
Though the suit focuses its claims on Rafferty, it also faults Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Eric Olsen, who prosecuted the case.
"Neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney conducted even the most cursory investigation of the complaining witness or the defendant," the suit filed
"Had they done so, they would have learned that the complaining witness had a well-documented history of falsely accusing others, including but not limited to sexual allegations, and that she was fully capable of consenting to sex."
Olsen prosecuted the case on the grounds that the girl, then 14, did not have the ability to consent to sexual intercourse because of intellectual shortcomings.
The suit contends that the girl and the boy, then 15, were intellectual peers because both "have IQs lower than the lowest 5-10 percent of the general population."
The civil suit was filed Aug. 18 against the state Department of Juvenile Justice as a procedural matter since the department continues to supervise the boy while he is on parole.
The suit includes 20 affidavits from the teens and from people who know them such as their parents, their siblings, a coach, a caretaker, a psychologist, an assistant principal and teachers.
Among the information contained in the affidavits is that:
The detective who interviewed the boy doubted the allegations at the start.
Stafford school officials knew the girl had a history of false accusations and, as a result, immediately doubted her rape allegation.