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Rape victim apologizes to wrongfully convicted man

Posted May 9, 2008
Updated May 14, 2008

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— A Goldsboro woman who was raped nearly 21 years ago says she never intended to identify the wrong man, who spent 18 years in prison for the crime.

"I apologize, deep-down apologize," Tomeshia Carrington-Artis said Friday.

WRAL News rarely identifies rape victims, but Carrington-Artis agreed to be identified to talk about the high-profile case and the release of Dwayne Allen Dail.

Dail, 39, was released from prison last August after DNA evidence on a nightgown proved his innocence.

Carrington-Artis, 33, said finding out that Dail wasn't her rapist left her with a range of emotions.

"It was like everything started all over again," she said.

This week, a Wayne County grand jury indicted William Jackson Neal Jr., who is serving a seven-year sentence as a habitual felon.

The indictment has left Carrington-Artis with mixed feelings.

"I think right now I have hatred, because not only has he messed up my life, but he helped made me mess up someone else's life," Carrington-Artis said.

According to the court records, Neal broke into Carrington-Artis' bedroom window and raped her. She was 12 years old at the time.

Weeks after the attack, Carrington-Artis said she was walking with her mother to her grandmother's home when she identified Dail, then 18, as her attacker. Upon seeing him, the child "froze up" before telling her mother Dail was the man who had raped her.

Carrington-Artis testified in the Dail's trial and said she will do the same when Neal's trial begins.

Carrington-Artis says she relives the ordeal almost daily.

"My attacker is still in control of my life," she said. "He still has me as a rape victim, when now I'm trying to be a rape survivor."

Though so many years have passed, Carrington-Artis said she still hasn’t dealt with the rape.

“I tried to put it in the past, like that little girl is not me. Now, I have to deal with it,” she said.

Carrington-Artis said she would like the opportunity to meet Dail and apologize.

"People tell me that, 'You were a child. It wasn't your fault.' But to me I felt like I need to hear him tell me, 'Iit wasn't your fault,'" she said.

Dail said he wants to meet Carrington-Artis soon to reassure her in person that he is not angry with her.

"I cannot possibly have hard feelings about a child that's been sexually assaulted," Dail said.

Dail is trying to move on with his life as well. Enrolled in a community college in Florida, he is working to finish his associate’s degree in computer science and hopes to pursue a bachelor's degree. Dail said he'd like to work in journalism.

Dail is currently working on a book about his life, but still has nightmares that he will wake up back in jail.

12 Comments

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  • TheAdmiral May 14, 2008

    Pinning it on an innocent man did not fix the problem. When she fingered freddy, then she opened herself up to litigation.

  • youngncleo May 12, 2008

    Well, I'm sure that makes it all better.

  • WXYZ May 12, 2008

    Finally an woman who has the character to step forward and help this poor man who was wrongfully prosecuted and wrongfully convicted of rape. How many other innocent men are in prison because of the same or similar events? How easy it is to forgive law enforcement, lawyers, the courts and the penal system for their actions (accidental or deliberate) in a rape case. Now, who among them can or will match this woman's actions, admit they were wrong and take action to help this man? Thank God for DNA testing. There but for the grace of God go I.

  • Fuquay Resident May 9, 2008

    I think it was very couragous of her to come forward and apologize. It wasn't her fault and it's nice to know that Dail doesn't blame her for it. Who knows, these 2 might become great friends.

  • moonpie May 9, 2008

    It took a lot of courage for her to come forward and a lot of class for her to apologize for an honest mistake. I bet Mr. Dail holds no grudge against her. I wish her the best...

  • Sunkist May 9, 2008

    God bless her. And to think while Dail was in prison the other man was still walking around now that's scary to know....

  • NCrunninggal May 9, 2008

    Dear Goldsboro Woman: I hope that you might consider receiving some psychotherapy (perhaps with someone who specializes in sexual assault/trauma) as your comment at the end suggests you are still "living in the climate" of the trauma. My best wishes to you in your journey of healing, so that you can really enjoy your life fully and not be haunted by the past.

  • raldude May 9, 2008

    What she did takes courage and I applaud her for that. She could have ignored the situation but chose to ask for forgiveness. This is a true lady and I admire her more than she will ever know.

  • meh_whatever May 9, 2008

    I applaud her courage, coming forward like she has. I was glancing back and forth at the man who raped her, and the man who was accused of it... I can see how a little girl who was attacked in the night might've confused some of their features. They have similar eyes and eyebrows... I've often wondered how people who get surprised like that, and have no real chance to view their attackers can remember that much about them, anyway.

    My best wishes go out to her, and to Mr. Dail. I wish them both the best as they move forward and mend their lives.

  • Bruce Wayne May 9, 2008

    Tip of my hat to her courage.

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