Beebe gets 18 months in 1984 battery
Before he was led away in handcuffs, a new image of William N. Beebe emerged this afternoon at the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse as friends described a man recovering from addiction and working tirelessly to help others do the same. The 43-year old, who pleaded guilty last year to felony sexual battery, was sentenced today to spend 18 months behind bars for an attack at a UVA fraternity house nearly 23 years ago.
The case, first extensively reported in the Hook last January, drew a phalanx of reporters to the story of the 12-step program that went awry. Today, however, the 12-steppers were in ample supply to support Beebe as a mender of broken souls.
"I looked like a cross between the unibomber and Jerry Garcia," said William Daniel Griggs. "He saw right through me, and was very insistent that this was the right way." Griggs related that when his older son was born, the child had to be on a ventilator, and anyone who wanted to take care of the ailing baby had to take special classes on how to administer CPR and remove and insert a feeding tube.
"The only two people that showed up were Will and my father-in-law," said Griggs, noting that Beebe stayed with the sick child on numerous occasions to give the exhausted parents a break.
Marcy Allen, in her mid-20s, spoke of her life before she met Beebe. "I did not shave or bathe– washed my hair twice a year," a situation she attributed to issues her drug problems that also led her embezzle money from her employer, which Beebe told her to repay.
In all, 11 people sat in the front two rows on Beebe's side– all friends and Alcoholics Anonymous members, many of whom described meeting Beebe (called Will throughout the hearing) in "fellowship." When pressed, several admitted fellowship was indeed AA. Beebe, wearing dark rimmed glasses, a dark suit with a crisp white shirt and a checked tie occasionally looked to the group and during breaks smiled and chatted with them.
"I forgive him," said Liz Seccuro after the hearing. "You have to forgive before you can rebuild yourself." As for UVA, Seccuro and her husband told the crowd of reporters that they do not forgive the school, which she has rebuked for allegedly steering her away from pressing charges over what happened at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in the fall of 1984, when she was a first year.
Seccuro said she was looking forward to the "next phase" of the case. As assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Claude Worrell (pictured above) announced in November, other men may be indicted, and he said the next phase begins "almost immediately." Indeed, at least one attorney for a man whose name has been whispered as part of the case was present in the courtroom today.
Beebe's attorney Rhonda Quagliana (also pictured above) read a statement after the sentencing in which she denied that Beebe was involved in a gang rape and reminded that Beebe, who approached Seccuro two years ago with an apology, has "always acknowledged" wrongdoing and touched off this case by attempting to do the right thing.