Apologetic Rapist To Be Released

William Beebe, right, walks with his attorney Rhonda Quagliana, left, as he arrives at the Charlottesville Circuit Court in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, March 15, 2007. AP

A man who confessed to raping a woman as he apologized two decades later as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program is scheduled to be released from jail after serving six months of an 18-month sentence, officials said Wednesday.

William Beebe, 42, pleaded guilty in November to one count of aggravated sexual battery for his attack on Liz Seccuro while at the University of Virginia. In March, a judge ordered a 10-year prison sentence with all but 18 months suspended.

Seccuro was shocked when informed Tuesday by Beebe's parole officer of his impending release. She said she was never given the opportunity to speak to the parole board.

"Everywhere in America I've seen, the victim has a say," Seccuro said. "And that's the problem — rape victims are voiceless."

Virginia abolished parole for all crimes committed after 1994, but because the crime occurred a decade earlier, Beebe is a candidate for early release. He has a projected release date of Sept. 17.

"He only got 18 months on a plea deal, so according to the time that was computed under the old system, this is when he was eligible to be released," said Barbara Woodhouse, Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

His parole officer declined to comment Wednesday, and a message left for a representative of the parole board was not immediately returned.

"If Virginia is so very proud of the fact that there is no statute of limitations on rape, then the sentencing has to follow suit," Seccuro said. "All I ever wanted was for the people who were responsible to be held accountable — but to be held accountable properly. And I don't think this is proper."

Prosecutor Dave Chapman said that although he knew Beebe would be eligible for parole, a release date after just six months is surprising.

"It is an excellent illustration of why the abolition of parole was appropriate, advisable and sensible," Chapman said.

The case was revived in 2005 after Beebe, of Las Vegas, wrote Seccuro a letter of apology in an attempt to atone for the 1984 fraternity party assault as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step recovery program.

The program's ninth step calls on alcoholics to make amends to those they have harmed — unless doing so would cause further injury. In an exchange of e-mails that ensued, Beebe wrote: "I want to make clear that I'm not intentionally minimizing the fact of having raped you. I did."

Seccuro, 40, of Greenwich, Conn., eventually called Charlottesville police to report what had happened. There is no statute of limitations on felonies in Virginia.

Beebe had originally been charged with rape and object sexual penetration and could have received life in prison. But in November, he entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after investigators uncovered information suggesting Seccuro was attacked by more than one person that night.

Seccuro was given a drink at the party that made her feel strange, and she later passed out, leaving her memory hazy. She said she vividly recalls being attacked by Beebe, but always had a vague impression she'd been assaulted by additional members of the fraternity.

Authorities had hoped Beebe could assist them in their investigation, but prosecutors said he gave them no helpful information. Last month, officials told The Associated Press they had exhausted all leads, and the case has stalled.

Seccuro went public with her name and story, hoping to lead other sexual assault survivors to seek help. She launched STARS — Sisters Together Assisting Rape Survivors — to raise money for rape victims and their families.
  • Joel Roberts

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