La Plata, MD – For Jeremy Ralph Dudley, 28 of Lusby, it’s not just the sign of relief he was looking for when a victim in a rape case looked at him in court two weeks ago and said, “That’s not the man who raped me,” it’s the overwhelming burden of clearing his name.

“My name has been dragged through the newspapers for this,” Dudley said after appearing before Charles County Circuit Court H. James West Monday, Feb. 2. “I would never hurt a woman.”

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Jon Beatty told West that when a motion hearing was held two weeks ago, the defendant was exonerated.

“When the victim and eye witness saw the defendant two weeks ago, they said in no uncertain terms, ‘He was not the individual who did this,’ ” Beatty noted. “The victim wanted me to pass along her apologies to Mr. Dudley.”

Charles County Public Defender Michele Harewood asked for Dudley’s name to be expunged from the case, and the state said they would not object.

Dudley said after his exoneration that he was sentenced to a year in jail on a theft charge in Calvert County last year and was released after four months.

“Two days later, the police came after me [on the rape charge], despite the fact that the guy they were looking for was 6 foot, 200 pounds,” Dudley explained.

It should be noted that Dudley is about 5 foot, five inches tall and slender.

“The police said he looked like me,” he said, adding that he had to post $10,000 bond and that his arrest violated his probation and he was subsequently arrested again, resulting in his having to post another $10,000 bond.

“It’s not fair,” he said. “I never harmed anybody. The guy who did this, he’s still out there. They stopped looking for him when they arrested me.”

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