Monday, October 24, 2011

Innocence Project says 'registered sex offender' arrested this month was falsely accused


On October 14, 2011 at approximately 8 p.m., while working security at the Orange High School game against River Bend High School, Deputy Garcia Madison observed and identified Edger Lee Coker, a violent sex offender from the VA State Police registry, on school property observing the football game.

Deputy Madison took Coker into custody and transported him to Central Virginia Regional Jail. Coker was charged with VA Code Section 18.2-370.5 ( Sex Offenders—prohibiting entry to school property).

Coker was held at the jail on a $3000.00 secured bond.

Sheriff Mark A. Amos
Orange County Sheriff's Office

Edgar Coker was adjudicated delinquent in 2007 upon false allegations that when he was 15-years old, he forcibly raped a 14-year old girl. After Edgar's adjudication, the alleged victim fully recanted her allegations against him and admitted that she had invited him into her home and had engaged in consensual sexual activity with him, but made up the rape story because she was afraid of getting in trouble after her mother came home. There is currently an appeal pending in the Supreme Court of Virginia addressing the recantation. The alleged victim and her mother have been tirelessly working to reverse his wrongful adjudication for over three years.

After he had completely served his time in the Department of Juvenile Justice, Edgar sought and received permission to enroll in Orange High School, despite the fact that he was already on the sex offender registry due to the false rape adjudication. Orange High School allowed Edgar to enroll. Edgar in fact enrolled at Orange High School and recently graduated. While he was a student at Orange, Edgar participated in the Orange High School track team and was featured in the Orange County Review for his athletic achievements.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office's press release omits all of this critical information and instead creates the misimpression that a sexual predator was caught attending a high school football game. In fact, Edgar Coker is innocent of wrongdoing and had permission to attend Orange High School.

We are requesting that, if you will not remove Sheriff Amos's misleading press release from your website and Facebook page, that you at least print the contents of this e-mail alongside the press release.

Counsel for Edgar Coker,
Matthew Engle
Deirdre Enright
The Innocence Project
University of Virginia School of Law