Seccuro’s story inspires TV drama

Over a year after the Hook first extensively reported it, somebody at CBS decided the story of William Beebe, Liz Seccuro, and justice delayed 21 years would make a good TV show. At least that seemed to be the case when a recent episode of the CBS crime drama Close to Home hit the air. The opening sequence of the March 30 episode, entitled "Making Amends," features characters Ellen Pinter and Tim O'Neill exchanging e-mails about an event that Pinter writes "more than just hurt me that night." After a face-to-face meeting that goes awry, Pinter tells a prosecutor that

as part of his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, O'Neill has sent her a letter of apology for raping her at a fraternity party 11 years before, but that O'Neill danced around the word "rape." Eventually Marion County, Indiana prosecutors charge O'Neill with drugging and raping Pinter, at which point O'Neill cuts a plea deal to implicate fraternity brothers who also took part in the incident. With the exception of the in-person meeting, the drugging charge, and the Indiana-for-Virginia switch, the plot mirrors the case of Seccuro and Beebe. In September 2005, Beebe sent a letter to Seccuro and admitted, "In October 1984, I harmed you," alluding to his having raped her at a UVA fraternity party when she was a first-year student. Seccuro pressed charges, and Beebe eventually agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of felony sexual battery last November. In announcing the deal, prosecutor Claude Worrell announced, "Other sexual assaults occurred that night by other individuals in that fraternity. Beebe has agreed to cooperate.” While it remains to be seen how the actual ongoing investigation will play out, the fictionalized version on Close to Home ended with O'Neill's testimony failing to convince a jury that a much wealthier fraternity brother had raped Pinter. The episode was not without some minor star power. Elizabeth Anne Allen– famous for portraying teenage witch Amy Madison on Buffy the Vampire Slayer– played Pinter, while David Denman– whose day job is playing warehouse dock worker Roy Anderson on The Office– took on the part of O'Neill. #

36 comments

FDR - in this particular case, all I can do is raise awareness as the truth has been buried for so many years. Not quite sure about your question. I have been completely honest in all of my disclosure thus far and will continue to be. Ergo, if it begins a dialogue (and I see that it has!), the truth about my case raises awareness. I have not lied once about my case. I don't know if the same can be said for the rapist(s). They are equally important and in my case, the same.

Thank you, Sidonie, for your comments. You got it right. That's precisely what I meant when I, in my own name, publicly said I was hurt and annoyed by Dewars' comments. Imagine sitting home, relaxing on a Friday night and flipping through the channels to see your EXACT case (they didn't even TRY to hide it) on some television show, where they actually acquit the next guy not three weeks after Beebe was sent to prison and your family is still recovering. There hasn't even been an arrest yet. What sort of message does that send? Hey, it's fine to drug and gang rape! See, we acquitted him on television. It was horrifying to see.

Then Dewars thinks that I somehow was paid for it which, yes, does smack of the Ann Coulter comment about the 9/11 widows. Um, no. When television producers "rip from the headlines", they do the minimum to get it past Legal and they are under no obligation to inform the families involved. Lucy thinks I "enjoy" the publicity of this. You know what? How would you feel if you were constantly stared at everywhere you go and you hear whispers of "hey, isn't that the rape girl?". Yeah, Lucy, I enjoy being known as that. There are folks on this blog who seem to thing I am lying around in a pile of money going, "Mwwwahahahahaha", when all I ever tried to do is say that rape is a crime and our rape culture needs to stop and just because you're "sorry" doesn't mean there's no jail sentence. Beebe is NOT a sympathetic character to me or to my family. He's caused untold years of pain and fear and cut a really sweet deal, all the while hiding behind a fine organization (I think) like AA and looking for a blank check, a moral pass. It's just so chic these days to do terrible things, say you're sorry, run to rehab. Little did Beebe know that he'd join a long list of this year's celebrity apologizers.

By bashing me on blogs, you DO indeed become a "perpetrator perpetuator" - someone who outwardly thinks rape is a crime (you will start a sentence with "Hey, I am so sorry at what happened to you BUT") BUT then goes on to excuse the rapists' action by somehow applying blame to the victim in any way they possibly can. It's subtle and insidious, but it aids in the silencing of rape survivors, who have nothing to be ashamed of.

When I sat in that courtroom last March, Rhonda Quagliana got to ask deplorable questions of me, questions that would never ever see the light of day in a jury trial. "How short was your skirt that night?" "Would you please stand up and show the court exactly?" All this, while standing 8 feet from my rapist. What is that called? Blaming the victim. "Why did you go to the party?" Um, because that's what you do when you're in college. So many people say I should have been at Church or at home reading my Bible. With that line of logic, if I am driving on the highway and someone crashes into my car, causing me grave injury, was I "asking for it"? This is what I mean when I say we are so quick to blame the victim in my case.

My point is, where is the level of outrage for rape survivors? Between Don Imus and the Duke case, I only see outrage in politically correct situations. It's the same with the University. Not one apology. Ever. You can bet if this was an issue of diversity - much like the Daisy Lundy case in 2002, where the FBI was called in by the University (!) - we never would be here in the first place. All of those cases are indeed repugnant and I don't see anyone labeling these victims of, in my opinion, much less harmful incidences, "opportunists". Let the Duke guys sue Nifong. Let the Rutgers girls sue Imus. Everyone will cheer them on. But somehow, in all this mess, we have people sympathetic to an addict, stalker and rapist.

Commenters on blogs can hide behind anonymity and I wanted to publicly denounce something that simply wasn't true. And you know what, FDR - with the media involved, all you can do is try. I will be misquoted all of the time and edited out of context. Doesn't make it right, but it shouldn't silence people.

opportunist lady receives letter of confession....film at 11.

Thanks, Dewars. I hope that no one in your family is raped, excuse me, gang raped, then called an "opportunist" while hiding behind a wall of anonymity on some blog. I actually don't understand the "opportunist" part as there has been no profit on my end; quite the opposite. That some ridiculous producer took the story of this crime for his show to profit is insensitive, as well. Frankly, I've not ever heard of this show, so I don't even know why this is news.

You, Dewars, may as well be wearing a "Have you slapped a rape victim today?" T-shirt. I should never ever respond to this drivel, but I want you to know how terrible you made me feel and people like you are the reason this crime is not reported more often. The people in Charlottesville have been so very lovely to me and my family and I hate to think otherwise of its citizens.

I guess you're just one of those people who believe that all good little rape victims shouldn't press charges or speak out to raise awareness. With silence, there will be no change.

I don't think an invalid assumption that Seccuro received a profit from her tragedy equates to Dewars thinking rape is OK. Invalid assumptions are dangerous. I'm sorry you were raped, but it does not give you a license to make invalid accusations about others.

Lovelace, she didn't say that Dewarsprofile said rape is okay. She said Dewarsprofile is an asshole. Which he clearly is.

Sidonie, such language! I must conclude that you let emotion cloud reason to the point you are unable to express yourself in a way that does not involve profanity.

What do you believe the following arrangement of words mean? "You, Dewars, may as well be wearing a ââ?¬Å?Have you slapped a rape victim today?”" and "I guess you're just one of those people who believe that all good little rape victims shouldn't press charges or speak out to raise awareness. With silence, there will be no change."

I interpret the express meaning of that little arrangement as accusing Dewars of believing the current state of women being raped is OK and he doesn't want to see a change in society that would lead to more rapists being punished; and, that Dewars "believes rape victims shouldn't press charges" because rape is OK. That seems to be the expressed message.

Sidonie, I understand the mother hen syndrome. Nonetheless, even a victim opens themself up to criticism in a public forum. In this case, the victim opened herself up to a slight course correction by jumping to conclusions. Her jump to a conclusion was probably caused by being in a highly emotional and agitated state.

Liz, first, I'm sorry for your ordeal. While you may not have monetarily profited by this, you are definitely enjoying the publicity. Your hunger for media coverage has actually made me sympathetic to Beebe, which is an unfortunate irony. So please, get off the TV before you do any more damage to the case for rape victims.

Lucy, incorrect - it's not enjoyable at all. The media experience is terribly uncomfortable and stressful - there is no hunger for it at all, but I'd rather participate than have it reported incorrectly. Also, as this is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and if it gets people talking, then it has to be. With the magic of editing and sound bytes, comes the realization that no one really understand the complexities of the case. What you see on TV is spun so very much and media does indeed mean to make Beebe seem sympathetic. So, I understand that people are uncomfortable when a rape victim speaks out. It's usually not done and believe me, I see why.

At the end of the day, if it raises awareness, then it's a good thing. I abhor that I am the person talking, but someone must do it, or we send the message that rape survivors should remain silent. Hope is not silent. I do, however, totally respect and appreciate your opinion.

Lucy, you think she enjoys the publicity? And the media coverage made you sympathetic to Beebe? Are you a man in disguise? Liz Seccuro was very brave to come forward after all these years. It's just horrible that no one at the hospital at that time or the dean's office ever did anything about it.

What drivel you all are spouting.

I agree with Sidonie....the comments of Dewars were pathetic.

Nice job Ann. You just displayed yourself to be the manhater that you are. "Are you a man in disguise?" That comment demonstrates you believe all men are unsympathetic to rape victims. Maybe you should
T H I N K before opening your cake hole.

My cake hole? HA You got angry awfully quick.

I wasn't even commenting about you, Lovelace.

What are you talking about. You are incoherent.

Yes, I know you were not talking about me. However, what you said was so offensive that I had to comment on it. Hungry? Whatever . . . . Let me put it in plain English. I would prefer you just shut your mouth.

How am I incoherent?

My asking whether she was a man was so offensive to you? Why? It seemed that a man would make the comment she made, not a woman. And why would you jump to the conclusion that I think all men are unsympathetic to rape
victims?

Au contrare...or to put it in plain english to you...to the contrary. Get some help for your anger.

The more you talk the more you prove my original comment correct. "It seemed that a man would make the comment she made, not a woman." I guess it would seem that way to you if you are a manhating woman. I'm sorry if a lack of male attention made you that way, but don't hate.

The more you speak the deeper the hole becomes. If your mouth were a digging device it would be equivalent to a steam shovel used to pit mine.

Blah, Blah, blah.

Wow, getting personal....it's too bad your anger gets in the way of any coherent comments.

You have nothing better to do than to try to rile people....sad.

Obviously, you too!

Wow . . . it seems Ann and Lovelace don't have anything better to do. Two peas in a pod. We'll, I've actually got a job so I guess I better go and do some work!

"but I'd rather participate than have it reported incorrectly." Are you sure? Those seem to be reversed lately.

Let's back up a little, shall we? This conversational thread began when Dewarsprofile called Liz Seccuro an "opportunist lady." "Opportunist" usually has a pejorative connotation; it means that someone takes unprincipled advantage of a situation (in this case, the episode of _Close to Home_ that seems to have been based on Beebe's rape of Seccuro) in order to profit personally from it.

Are we all clear that Seccuro isn't making any money off that episode and therefore that Dewarsprofile made an unwarranted, ungenerous, and incorrect assumption?

Okay, now there is Seccuro's response to Dewarsprofile's jerkish comment (it fits my definition of jerkish, so that's why I'm using that term). She writes that he "may as well be wearing a 'Have you slapped a rape victim today?'" This doesn't seem hard to translate, but apparently it is, so here's my reading: your comment was like a slap in my face. Is that so hard to understand and accept? That for a rape victim to be called an opportunist is like being slapped in the face? Seems pretty easy to grasp to me. First you get (gang)raped, then you endure having the whole thing dredged back up, and then some jerk calls you an opportunist as if you're now sitting back on a big pile of money enjoying the whole thing (or maybe "jerks," as Lucy has weighed in with her expert testimony to the effect Seccuro is "definitely" enjoying the publicity--maybe Ann Coulter has gotten loose on our Hook website, cuz this sounds a lot like her comments about how the 9/11 widows were enjoying their husband's deaths! You go, Lucy!).

Seccuro also writes in response to Dewarsprofile, "I guess you're just one of those people who believe that all good little rape victims shouldn't press charges or speak out to raise awareness." She's deducing from his cavalier and callous comment about Seccuro's "opportunism" that he thinks any rape victim making a big ol' fuss about having been raped is an opportunist, looking for publicity and money (or maybe that's Lucy that thinks that...). This deduction might be a stretch, but it's plausible. There ARE people who think rape is not that big of a deal, that women make too much of a fuss about it (or ask for it, or deserve it). Those people DO disparage rape victims (anonymously, often) by ascribing unprincipled motivations to their actions ("she must be loving all that publicity!" "she must be making a lot of money off her rape!"). Those disparagements DO create a climate in which rape victims in general think twice about reporting rape. So it seems not too far off base to accuse Dewarsprofile of being one of those people.

And Lucy, you might be more sympathetic to Beebe than to Seccuro, but that's by no means a universal reaction to this whole case. You don't speak for everyone when you tell Seccuro to "get off the TV" or to stop seeking publicity about the case. I don't think she does the cause of rape victims any service by fading back into the woodwork and letting everyone forget about this case.

Everybody is so self-righteous here and so quick to point accusatory fingers at everybody else. Amazing. I've never seen a blog that possesses so many posts by so many perfect people. I notice Sidonie and Lovelace seem to show up on every Hook thread for the opportunity to educate the rest of us mindless people. Both of you . . . thank you so much.

I'll ask another question of Liz or anyone else commenting on this thread. Is raising awareness more important than the truth?

Whoa! Seccuro goes off!
I think we all need to slooowly back away.

Amazing how every victim turns their story into a platform to preach. There is a difference between making people aware and preaching. I believe this falls into the latter catergory.

Tell that to the abolitionists and civil rights activists. Martin Luther King didn't "raise awareness"--he preached, literally, about right and wrong. The Jim Crow South was not making any changes based on someone politely handing out educational pamphlets about lynching and discrimination.

Sometimes you just have to get in someone's face and tell them what's wrong with the way they think about things.

I can see that about you Sidonie. You are constantly getting in people's faces and telling them that if they think differently than you do that they are wrong. That is fine, as long as you recognize people have a RIGHT to disagree with you and express their disagreement.

Mrs. Seccuro I support you and just wanted to say way to go. thats all I have to say

I will clarify both of my questions. Raising awareness is about the truth. Do the ends justify the means? The earlier post regarding your statement about participation rather that tolerate incorrect reporting is delusive. That is if you authored post #7 credited to your name. It goes on in post #21, also credited to your name. There is stated "I will be misquoted all of the time and edited out of context." Well, that seems like a built in free pass to say any and all then turn around to claim "I did not say that." If you are giving radio interviews, television interviews, or writing opinion letters to the Cavalier Daily, should we assume you are not really saying what we are hearing or reading?

Liz Seccuro, more power to you - great post.

This one time . . . at band camp . . . I ________________.

Because that happened, the whole world should now listen to my opinions an exalt me for being a hero. Bow down!

Some peope can be so mean. Why does something serious have to turned into a playground level?

Thought perhaps we would get another visit from Liz. Oh well, I'll get to the point. Liz, do you really just expect everyone to believe everything you are saying? You are employing the same tactics you decry in your last post. Namely you say whatever you want without offering much to support it and thus are hiding. Liz said it. My god it must be true! When you say "I have not lied once about my case", I believe you. I believe that you have not lied just once, but lied numerous times and continue to do so. Some of it might be subjective but not all of it. You have sought the publicity in order to keep your juggernaut rolling. You take alot of swings (verbal), but you cannot take a punch (verbal). You are mostly a victim of yourself.

I think it's very easy to make judgements either way on this without knowing ALL the facts in the case. There is no way that you can know if Mrs. Seccurro is telling the truth without being her. Likewise, there is no way you can talk about the motivations of Mr. Beebe without being him. I have my suspicions, but I don't KNOW the 100% truth of any of it, so I choose not to comment on it. It's very easy to shout about how someone lied OR about how someone is hiding in AA, but unless you are one of those people, you don't know. Period.

M.S. Yes, judgements are being made without knowing "ALL the facts in the case". However there are some facts (perhaps many) that are known. There have been television interviews, written interviews, court proceedings reported on, etc. That is not to say they are all the facts. Also you are correct in bringing up the point that there is no way to truly know the motivations behind either of these individuals. Issue can be taken with your statement "There is no way that you can know if Mrs. Seccurro is telling the truth without being her." Using rationale such as that would simply be choosing to ignore the existence of anything credible or true unless it came from straight from her mouth or existed in her head. Why would the police or anyone else even try to investigate claims if she is the sole source of determining her own credibility . There would be no need to verify anything. In making some claims in public forums that are not true, she has paved the way for questions and skepticism. One does not need to know the 100% truth of all of it to discern a lie. We would never have any use of juries in this country if we operated under the idea that only the truth can be held by the accuser and the accused.

Wow. The cruelty of some people is mind numbing. What possesses someone to insult a rape victim? Beebe confessed, he pled guilty. He raped her, he admitted it. There is no "other" side to the story. Ms. Seccuro was living her life, minding her own business when her rapist contacted her looking for forgiveness. He further proved what a total coward he is by seeking to take back his confession when he was threatened with a real consequence for his criminal act, he and his lawywer claimed consensual sex right up until he pled guilty. He's a sickening excuse for a human being. How can she then be an 'opportunist' for anything she has done? I also thought his defense lawywer was descpicable in the questions she asked and the inferences she made, especially when it appears the lawyer knew all along that others had raped Ms. Seccuro that night. This is about as cut and dried a case of rape as you are ever going to find, yet some still find the need to attack the credibilty, truthfulness and motives of the victim. Sad.

So, let me see if I have this right. You refer to this as a rape multiple times in your post. The claim is "This is about as cut and dried a case of rape as you are ever going to find..." How then do you explain the conviction being something other than rape? If you were aware of some of the statements that were made by the Mrs. Seccuro you might understand the questioning. Go back and look at the reports and interviews that were done, if they are still available. There is no attack on Mrs. Seccuro. She has chosen to make statements represented as fact that are simply false. I see credibility and truthfulness as being important. Why would a victim need to lie? Noboby seems to want to answer that question.

Hey FDR,

Wasn't an episode of Law & Order SVU based on your life story? ... the one where the guy's mommy locked him in the closet?