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Former Aquia Harbour teen files suit in attempt to clear his name in recanted rape accusation
As a result of those incidents, Cherri and Edgar Dulaney felt compelled to move to a rural, isolated area where they feel better able to protect their four sons.
"I have always taught my boys that if they are honest and law-abiding and respectful, they will be safe in the community," Edgar Dulaney said. "My boys now know that this is not true. [My oldest son] learned a lot at the age of 15 that the 'community' is not always fair, and that his mother and I cannot really protect him.
"This is a fact, and it has been devastating for all of us."
APPEALING FOR HELP
The Dulaneys contacted Deirdre M. Enright, director of The Innocence Project at the University of Virginia law school, in December after appeals by Rafferty and another attorney failed to overturn their son's convictions.
Since then, The Innocence Project and Andrew K. Block, legal director of JustChildren, a program of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, have been working on the boy's behalf.
Angela A. Ciolfi of JustChildren and Jeremy S. Byrum of the McGuire Woods law firm in Richmond joined the team for the civil suit.
The girl's mother, Michele Sousa, also has been working to help clear the boy's name since her daughter told her in November 2007 that she lied about the accusations to avoid getting into trouble for inviting the boy into the house.
In January, Enright and Block sent a letter to Director of Juvenile Justice Barry Green asking for the teen's early release and laying out the facts they had gathered about the case.
In February, the boy was released shortly ahead of his originally scheduled date.
The attorneys are currently seeking to get the teen's convictions and sentence set aside, including the requirement that he be listed on the state's sex-offender registry. If those requests are not granted, a new trial is sought.
The suit also seeks a declaration of actual innocence.
Sousa returned home the evening of June 4, 2007, to find the 15-year-old boy in the kitchen of her Aquia Harbour home and her 14-year-old daughter in her bedroom getting dressed.
Sousa called the Sheriff's Office, believing the boy had broken in and sexually assaulted her daughter.
The case moved quickly through the legal system.