Girl Recants Rape Accusation Following Man's Conviction

Prosecutor Says 14-year-old Is Just Confused About Law

June 02, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

After a jury convicted Dominic Boston of raping a 13-year-old girl, a judge revoked the Annapolis man's bond and sent him to jail to await sentencing.

Two months later, the girl wrote a letter saying: "Iwish to drop all charges against Dominic Boston. . . . Dominic did not rape me."

Friday, Boston's bond was reinstated, and he was released.

However, the 23-year-old man is not in the clear. The girl, now 14, willbe called to court to explain what she meant by her letter.

A prosecutor, saying the girl was merely confused about what constitutes rape when she wrote her letter, told a judge the girl would not changeher testimony from the trial that led to Boston's conviction. And even if intercourse was not forced, sex between the two would amount tostatutory rape, Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris told the judge.

But Boston's lawyer, William H. Murphy Jr., said the letter raised "disturbing" questions about the conviction and the girl's credibility.

A Circuit Court jury convicted Boston of second-degree rape March 28. Court records show the girl said she knew Boston andthat he had forced her to have sex with him on June 2, 1990, in her Annapolis home.

During the trial, Boston, of the 200 block of OpenView Lane, presented witnesses to back his claim that he was not with the girl.

After Boston was convicted, Judge Eugene M. Lerner revoked his bond and ordered him held at the county Detention Center pending sentencing. But when Boston was brought to court Wednesday for sentencing, Murphy produced the girl's letter as part of his motion for a new trial.

In the letter, addressed "To whom this may concern"and handwritten on a sheet of loose-leaf paper, the girl said: "I don't know why I ever went through this. I guess I was just under a lotof pressure and I couldn't speak up for myself. I am really sorry for what I put Dominic and his family through."

After taking a look at the letter, Lerner ordered Ferris and Murphy to find the girl and ask her about the letter. Officials at Bates Junior High School told the lawyers they could not interview the girl without parental permission, but Ferris questioned the girl after school Wednesday at the county State's Attorney's Office.

In a hearing Friday, Ferris told Lerner she was convinced the girl had written the letter. The prosecutor said that when she pressed the girl on her definition of rape, "she replied, 'In a rape someone hits or beats you or rips your clothes off, something like that.'

"I think what happened here was kids atschool have convinced her she couldn't have been (raped) if she wasn't beaten up," Ferris added.

Murphy read from a trial transcript that showed a baby-sitter testified she saw Boston and the girl havingsex. Afterward, the girl said she had been raped. "That's obviously contradictory," Murphy said. "She knew the definition of rape then."

In arguing that Boston should be released on bond, Murphy said most judges would probably issue a lighter sentence for statutory rape than for forcible rape. State law defines statutory rape as sex between a person under 14 and a person four or more years older.

Murphy added that the girl is a "mature-looking young lady, tall, attractive, and easily could not have been known to be 13 years old."

Ferrissaid sentencing guidelines -- which in Boston's case show he should be sentenced to 12 to 18 years in prison -- are the same for forcibleand statutory rape.

Both lawyers said the girl will testify at a July 12 hearing on Boston's motion for a new trial.

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