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Parole in sex assault case stirs ire

Conn. woman criticizes move

William N. Beebe will have served six months. William N. Beebe will have served six months.

RICHMOND -- A man who sexually assaulted a fellow University of Virginia student from Connecticut in 1984 and apologized to her two decades later as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program is scheduled to be released from jail on parole after serving six months of an 18-month sentence.

William Beebe has a projected release date of Sept. 17, Virginia Department of Corrections officials said yesterday.

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

Seccuro was shocked when informed of Beebe's impending release by his parole officer Tuesday. 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. His parole officer declined comment yesterday, and a message left for a representative of the Parole Board was not immediately returned.

"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 a Department of Corrections spokeswoman, Barbara Woodhouse.

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.

Seccuro has said that she reported the assault to university officials at the time but that a dean and the campus police treated her dismissively.

The case was revived in 2005 after Beebe wrote Seccuro a letter of apology in an attempt to atone for the fraternity party assault as part of AA's 12-step recovery program.

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

Authorities had hoped Beebe could assist them in their investigation, but prosecutors said he gave them no helpful information.

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.

"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.