Kitze acquitted: Judge vents, but rules for rapist

The man known as the "graduation rapist" was found not guilty of probation violation November 13 by a judge who said he fully expects Jeffrey Kitze to be back in court again because of the way he interacts with women.

Kitze, 51, was convicted of the brutal rape and beating of his sister's roommate the day after both women graduated from UVA Law School back in 1989. He served 20 years in prison, and shortly after his release and return to Charlottesville in January 2009, complaints arose from allegedly frightened young women at Virginia Organizing, a grassroots group where Kitze volunteered.

Two Octobers ago, he was convicted of one probation violation because his probation officer had ordered him to have no contact with Virginia Organizing staff, interns, or volunteers.

After that conviction, another woman, an activist from an Organizing project subsidiary organization called Food Not Bombs, came forward and accused Kitze of stalking her. While initially convicted of stalking in January 2011, Kitze appealed, and on August 7 in Charlottesville Circuit Court, a jury found him not guilty.

The probation violation charges heard Wednesday were based on Kitze's now-overturned stalking conviction and whether he violated his probation officer's instructions to stay away from Virginia Organizing volunteers.

Judge Jay Swett ruled that Kitze did not violate those instructions when he made contact with the Foods Not Bombs volunteer– even though Foods Not Bombs is an organization under the Virginia Organizing umbrella.

"The defendant has to have a clear understanding of what he did or didn't do," said Judge Swett.

While the ruling was a victory for Kitze, the bench offered a dim view of his behavior.

"The court can't condone the way he acts," said Swett. "In the letters he wrote, he denies the rape. He is a man who does not accept responsibility. He will be back in court again."

Swett said it was up to the probation officer to be more specific in the terms of Kitze's probation and then added: "Clearly, his approach to women is a problem for this defendant."

After the four-hour hearing, Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford expressed shock.

"I was surprised and disappointed because we feel this is a public safety issue," said Lunsford. "I was especially surprised in light of [Swett's] comment and obvious concern about Mr. Kitze's behavior."

Lunsford noted that Kitze is supposed to follow a set of "good behavior" terms imposed with the suspended portion of his original rape sentence.

"At the very least," she said, "this is a violation of good behavior."

Kitze is currently incarcerated at Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail for the prior parole violation, with a release date of November 21, 2019, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections website.

Bill Muse, chairman of the Virginia Parole Board, explains the difference between probation and parole.

"Probation is the court's decision," says Muse. "The parole board puts someone out of prison on a separate track."

Kitze's annual Parole Board review will be held during the second quarter of 2013.

"We make an independent decision of our own whether he violated parole," says Muse. "It may be a different decision from the court."

Adds Muse, "Our primary focus is public safety."



Not at all surprised by this. Men in Charlottesville can beat, rape, and even kill women and get away with it. For every Huguely that you put away there are a thousand others who are not locked up.

Amused at Lunsford's choice of words. When my daughter was raped, the perp was also told he exhibited "bad behavior". Rick Moore, then Lunsford, both went on the record and said you can't prosecute someone for "bad behavior".

A 10 foot length of oiled hemp rope properly used back in 1989 would have obviated all this...

"Clearly, his approach to women is a problem for this defendant."
I would argue, Judge, that his approach to women is a problem FOR WOMEN

So Angle Eyes...advocating murder? Would that make you feel better?

Rapists should never see the light of day. Anyone can see he's hurting people every day, crime committed or not.

I wonder if the fact he is in jail until 2019 had anything to do with the judge's decision--figuring that technically he would have a hard time upholding the violation--but the guy is safely locked away for a few years so not as much harm? Would this violation have added time to his sentence? I would imagine at the very least it will be fodder for his parole board to review--and they are not necessarily bound by the strict standards of evidence that the court must follow.

This judge has one of the highest legal intellects and senses of morality of any judge who has sat in this region in recent memory. I know it pained him enormously to rule as he did -- but that is the trouble with integrity and the law: sometimes you have to rule for the bad guy. Lesser judges might likely have acted otherwise in this case out of fear of bad press for following the law.

Good Grief , whats a rapist here or there for goodness sakes .

You got a murderer lose and no second guessing needed for what he/she might do; they already proved themsleves and Morgan Harrington can witness to it .

Why all the drama over a rapist ???