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Former Aquia Harbour teen files suit in attempt to clear his name in recanted rape accusation

Date published: 8/30/2009


The boy was charged three days later, pleaded guilty to two charges on Aug. 22, 2007, was sentenced Sept. 19, and was given a final sentencing hearing Nov. 19.

Five days later--over the Thanksgiving weekend--the girl told her mother she had lied about being raped. She said she had let the boy into the house and that they engaged in consensual sexual intercourse.

Within days, Sousa contacted an attorney for advice and then notified Rafferty of the girl's changed story.

But Rafferty didn't file a motion seeking to overturn the verdicts until Feb. 28, 2008, court records show.

Juvenile court Judge Julian Johnson denied the motion on procedural grounds, presumably because the motion wasn't filed on time.

The boy was originally charged with rape, abduction and breaking and entering.

After Olsen's office threatened to try the boy as an adult, Rafferty advised the boy's parents that he should plead guilty to keep the case in the juvenile system and avoid the risk of a lengthy term in an adult prison.

She never suggested fighting the charges on their merits, including the boy's innocence, the suit states.

In exchange for pleading guilty to rape and breaking and entering, Olsen dropped the abduction charge and his motion to move the case to adult court.

The boy was held in a juvenile justice facility until Feb. 25 of this year. He is now on probation.


Rafferty did not return calls seeking comment about the accusations in the lawsuit.

Olsen said he has been instructed by the court not to comment on cases involving juveniles.

The Virginia Attorney General's Office is representing the Department of Juvenile Justice and has until Sept. 25 to respond to the suit. The office does not comment on pending litigation, spokesman David Clementson said.

Sousa told The Free Lance-Star she is aware of how her daughter is portrayed in the lawsuit but does not dispute the accuracy of the information.

She said she had hoped the matter would be resolved shortly after reporting to attorneys that her daughter had lied.

She regrets all that the boy's family has been through since the accusations, and said that's why she's willing to be so public.

"This cannot go on. His whole family is dealing with this," Sousa said. "We have to do what we have to do."

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

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The following information comes from sworn statements gathered by the attorneys representing the teen who is suing the state Department of Juvenile Justice in an effort to clear his name.

The mother of the girl who accused the boy of rape and later said she lied seeks to right what she considers an injustice.

MICHELE SOUSA, the girl's mother, states that Stafford Detective Gerald Lloyd, the man who investigated the allegation and questioned the boy on the date of the alleged incident, "seemed to doubt the rape allegation at the beginning. Det. Lloyd seemed to be challenging that this had happened, and it made me mad then."

Lloyd indicated that the boy said he and the girl were friends, noted that the boy "seems a little slow," and "wondered if this wasn't a 'mistake.'"

Sousa said Stafford officials were familiar with her daughter and family from incidents prior to the June 2007 allegation.

"Both Child Protective Services and the Stafford prosecutors were aware of [my daughter's] history of false accusations, because they have had to deal with our family in the past."

One such encounter stemmed from the girl's Mother's Day 2000 accusation that her father caused bruises that she had on her legs. Her father spent the night in jail, but charges were later dropped after the prosecutor's office became convinced it was a lie.

ROBERT BALDWIN, former A.G. Wright Middle School special-education chairman: "[She] lied in order to save herself from getting into trouble. Her concern for her own self-preservation led her to make damaging statements about her teachers, her parents and peers, with no apparent understanding of the negative consequences to others of her words."

"Based on my knowledge of her behavior patterns, when I first learned that [she] had accused a young man of raping her, I doubted the veracity of her accusation."

THE ACCUSED TEEN said: "I pled guilty to those crimes on Aug. 22, 2007, because my lawyer Denise Rafferty told me that I didn't have a choice."

"I did not break into [the girl's] house, and I did not rape [the girl] and I never told anyone that I did."

EDGAR DULANEY, the boy's father, said the attorney misrepresented the evidence. "When I shared my uncertainty about [whether my son should plead guilty] with Ms. Rafferty, she immediately told me that Det. Lloyd would testify that [my son] had confessed to him. Ms. Rafferty then said that Det. Lloyd's testimony, along with the DNA results, would be plenty to convince any jury of his guilt. Ms. Rafferty showed me a folder and said the Commonwealth had the results of the DNA tests, and that the results showed that it was 100 percent certain that [my son] had raped [the girl]."

A state lab report shows tests were never conducted on evidence in the case and that Lloyd told the lab on Aug. 22, 2007--the date the boy entered his guilty pleas--not to test the evidence.

DANIEL TRYON, the boy's Brooke Point High School freshman basketball coach and study-hall proctor, said he "was congenial, quiet and even-tempered throughout the four hours each school day that I spent with him. [His] behavior did not noticeably change in the presence of girls: he was not preoccupied by girls and he did not exhibit any hostile, menacing or aggressive behavior whatsoever."

He "struck me as an affable but intellectually challenged young man."

Jan. 22--Innocence Project Director Deirdre Enright and JustChildren Legal Director Andrew K. Block Jr. send letter to Department of Juvenile Justice Director Barry R. Green asking him to release boy.

Feb. 25--Boy is released from Department of Juvenile Justice facility and placed on probation.

Aug. 18--Boy sues Department of Juvenile Justice in Stafford Circuit Court.