Dateline NBC airs 21-year-old rape case

Five months after she first broke her silence in a Hook cover story, Liz Seccuro will tell her story this week on Dateline.

In the episode, titled "The Apology," Seccuro recalls being brutally raped at a UVA fraternity 21 years ago when she was a 17-year-old First Year. Her alleged attacker, William Beebe, wasn't charged and left the school voluntarily soon after the incident. But two decades later, he tracked Seccuro down and sent her a letter expressing his remorse. "I harmed you," he wrote. During a series of email exchanges, Beebe eventually admitted to raping her. Seccuro turned the evidence over to police, who arrested Beebe (who now claims innocence) and charged him with felony rape.

According the Dateline website, Seccuro's choice has angered some, who feel she should move on and forgive Beebe his transgression. Others, however, support her drive to see justice served.

"She is a woman about whom almost no one can remain neutral," promises Dateline host Edie Magnus, whose TV producer husband will voice Beebe's emails in the episode.

Dateline's "The Apology" airs at 8pm Friday, May 19, on NBC.blog-rape-dateline.jpg

May 19 update: The national Dateline NBC broadcast aired tonight as did a new report on Charlottesville's own NBC29. Both mention that Charlottesville Police uncovered a long-sealed 5-page UVA report that provides some more specific, contemporary details from three alleged witnesses:

• one saw so much blood at the scene to think ‚Äúthere had been a shooting or something of that sort”
• another suggests up to six men participated in an attack
• another suggests that a date rape drug was administered in a drink

Among the three witnesses, there was also mention of a partially exposed sleeping woman bleeding from "the vaginal area" and a young man with blood on the thigh of his jeans, according to a broadcast account.

Despite his apparent emailed admission, Beebe– now free on bond– claims the encounter was consensual. NBC29 reports that the case goes to trial November 27.
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16 comments

Did they say transgression? I think rape is a little more than a "transgression". I don't understand how her decision to press charges would anger anyone. What sort of people are they? Sociopaths and rapists, I would bet.

I am very proud of Liz Seccuro and am appalled with the b/s language used. Rape is rape is rape! Outraegeous!

Janny Caldwell

Liz is strong woman and I support her every step of the way! Why isn't there any anger and outrage directed at the
University? The recently released documents confirm that they turned a blind eye to this crime. How many other
women have lived the same nightmare as Liz? I shudder to think how many women have been silenced in the past
20+ years.

Susan Russell
www.uvavictimsofrape.com

Liz is a complete moron and her parents are a complete disgrace. 21 years ago after the "rape" occured you don't go to the Dean of the University. You go to the POLICE. Where were her parents. If Liz was too stupid to report the crime then her parents owed her that in order to bring justice in this case. Now she acts all high and mighty by being "strong" and reporting it 21 years later. Sorry you dork, after 21 years you are just as guilty by letting somebody go free for that long as the idiot Bebbe is for committing the crime. She is a very weak woman who didn't do herself or the community justice by letting this man go free and now 21 years later she comes off as a bitter evil shrew trying to play a game of vigilante long after the fact. Statute of limitations are good in some cases and this is one of those cases. You are both guilty of crimes here!

Please help me to contact LIZ Seccuro herself. My daughter was raped & she could not prove either. she just like Liz went through Hell.

I'm in the minority here I know, but I have a very strong feeling about this woman and her motives - she is driven to get as much mileage out of this story as possible. She was worried and inquired about air time scheduling on NBC... she was worried about how she would 'look' on tv, she is 'training like for a marathon' for the trial, she communicated with this guy for months via email - drawing words out of his mouth... she lives in Greenwich CT, very high rent - she has a wedding planner biz in NYC - very high rent... oh yeah,and she's an over achiever that never made an A-, hmm, ya think she might smell OPPORTUNITY $$$? Now consider this... do you remember 20 years ago, being a teenager and doing things you'd love to forget? Now I'm totally for prosecuting rapist but look at the circumstances. It was 20 years ago, the guy wrote to her to ask forgiveness, he's obviously carried this guilt in his heart for 20 years, now WHAT in the hell is jail going to do? Rehabilitate him? Don't you think that the fact that he wrote that letter shows he has a conscience and is remorseful and begs forgivness? I ask again, what in the hell is jail going to do? Answer: Turn this lame story into a media circus, give Liz the attention and publicity she so deeply CRAVES, and OH! I will bet my very last dollar that she writes a book so fast her head spins (she's an English major, right?). Yeah, at this guy's expense, and all he was trying to do was make amends for a bad decision he (they - yes THEY) made to be alone in a frat room & drunk and too full of hormones. Yup, watch for the book. Then she'll be on Oprah. I bet she gets an agent and ends up with a movie. Maybe she should try church, ask God to teach her how to forgive - I bet He has. This is sickening. ~Monica

m p - you are sickening. If you've watched the reports, he dragged her with another man into his room - I mean look at the guy - I don't think that girl would lose her virginity willingly to that guy. She did not go willingly. You are a disgrace to all women. Perhaps your fear that it may happen to you causes you to be so angry with this girl for telling her story. Also, if you watched the "Dateline" piece or maybe "Today", Liz says she has forgiven Beebe. But that the court system is something else entirely. He must pay a debt to society. Why should anyone question her motives? I think justice is a darn good motive.

Why should rape victims hide? Why should she go quietly? Because she lives in a nice area and has a career, that makes her evil? I'll bet her rapist is very wealthy. What does it matter? Maybe she wants to change things. She is a mother of a girl and she needs to do this.

I'm also willing to bet he was only "sorry" because he thought the statute of limitations had run out. He's not begging for forgiveness. He's a narcisstic sociopath. She HAS forgiven the guy. Now it's up to a jury. I'm shocked I breathe the same air as you.

To posters Jack Sontel and m p:
Your comments remind me of how alone Liz Seccuro must feel when she is exposed to such insensitive and cruel opinions such as yours. Your comments are simply hateful.

I hope justice will be served and that she finds some peace and joy in her life. I can imagine that will be close to impossible.

As for William Beebe's lawyer--- comments quoted in the press, I find Rhonda Quagliana's responses disgusting and shameful.

When a story usually airs like this, I support the rape victim and all the pain that the victim has gone through. This is not the case here, and while I hardly condone William Beebe's actions, I think that Liz Seccuro has taken this issue too far. I agree with Jack Sontel in that Liz should've reported it to the POLICE when she actually got raped, not 21 years afterwards. When I was watching Dateline, I could sense that Beebe was being very remorseful about the situation and generally wanted to make amends. Putting this to a grand jury I think is a waste of tax dollars, and Seccuro really should let the past go. Liz is going to have a hard time telling her story to a grand jury? HELLO, what about NOT talking? Personally, I hope that Beebee is either proven to be equivalent to "not guilty" or just get sentenced to community service. Liz, on the other hand, we should just turn a deaf ear because all she's doing is whining and complaining. I would find more sympathy for her if she'd shut the fuck up.

It's amazing that there are apologists out there for rapists. Rape happens when somebody by brute force sexually violates another person. Imagine blood dripping from your torn genitalia or anus with welts and/or bruises forming between your legs. Imagine not being able to piss or shit the next day without bleeding to remind you that, yeah, someone just saw you as a piece of meat. Imagine the shame you feel and the betrayal you feel, knowing others could have helped you but did not. Imagine it happening to yourself and or your child and maybe you would be more compassionate. You don't like someone's personality so you hope a rapist gets community service or found not guilty? What kind of community service would you hope for? Sweeping up leaves on the side of a school? Pulling weeds? Grow up. This not a debate about personality but about someone who violated someone else and for the first time in 22 years is being held accountable for his actions. Forgiveness? You leave it up to God that he will never drink again? Someone participated in a gang rape of a friend of mine and twenty years later, apologized to her, saying he now has daughters. He felt bad. They had all been friends. Those boys had been drinking, too. Gee, they sure must've felt crummy about themselves the next day.

She has every right to obtain the justice today she was denied over 20 years ago. I hope she gets the peace which she so desperately desires when she sees Beebe go to trial and, in all likelihood, receive punishment for sexual assault.

I am a male and was physically (not sexually) assaulted by a male serving in the Guard with me. He jumped me in a park and began to pummel me without any good reason. He seemed to get off on the whole thing. I won't deny that I've often thought of settling that score because I was afraid that if I reported the incident at the time I would face further retribution. I can empathize with her feeling of helplessness. In 1984, most people didn't believe there was such a thing as date rape. And frat boys often did get away with more than others.

On the other hand, I agree with the person who asked why she has not framed the incident in a more forgiving way. She seems to want to watch Beebe suffer. And yet, here is a man who has suffered as well. A man who has made an effort to show contrition and appears willing to win her forgiveness. I suppose some will say that he should have plead no contest instead of hiring a lawyer, but I'm sure he is astute enough to realize that he must look after his own interests as well. Even if he made a grave mistake in college, he is facing life in prison and he has a right to competent defense.

I think the questions that must be answered are as follows: 1) Is he contrite for what he did? 2) Is he likely to reoffend? 3) Did he actually commit rape or simply regrettable sex?

I think he is contrite and he is not likely to rape again. I don't know if he committed rape, but he certainly had sex without her consent. My opinion is he should get probation and do community service by speaking at Virginia colleges about the importance of getting a woman's consent to have sex and encouraging all fraternities and sororities to partner up to prevent sexual assault in all its various forms. I realize the awareness is greater today, but a person like Beebe could help to keep this issue fresh in the minds of young people as it appears the Duke lacrosse team did act inappropriately only a few short months ago.

Likewise, I think Liz needs to lighten up! It's been 20 years and she is apparently doing quite well despite her unfortunate college experiences. Sometimes I wonder why people who have it so good want to watch others suffer. I would have begged the district attorney to offer him a plea deal to serve probation and community service if I had been in her position. He would carry a felony charge on his record, but he would have an opportunity to set the thing right. Unfortunately, I think she hopes he will get butt raped in prison based on the arrogant attitude she showed in the interview.

Maybe there are more facts about Beebe which have yet to come out and I will change my opinion.

Ralph

I sympathize with the underdogs in a basketball game but not when they appear in peoples' lives, apologizing for rape and blaming it on self-hate.

Does having "regrettable sex" bother someone for twenty-two years?

From Ralph: "Sometimes I wonder why people who have it so good want to watch others suffer."

This is the quote that really gets me.

I realize that the tone of this blog is not representative of the city of Charlottesville or the students ... HOWEVER, I have been talking rape with agencies for over 2 years. most people fight from emotion and not fact. The choice to prosecute was not Liz's choice, it was the choice of the Commonwealth Attorney after he reviewed all the information. The media is intrigued by the case because of the letter Beebe sent that started it all. The story is larger than that letter, it's also about how UVA turned a blind eye 20 years ago to this crime, how young victims continue to be ill advised, about how Universities persuade young victims to deal with this crime through administrative actions, not legal courses of action. Even if the victim files a police report stating that they had been raped or assaulted, the COMMONWEALTH ATTORNEY is the one who makes the decision to take the case and prosecute it as a crime. I know of several cases where the police findings supported rape but the Commonwealth Attorney refused to go forward. What is a young victim to do then? I know because my daughter was raped while attending UVA, but the Albemarle Commonwealth Attorney refused to prosecute because of the way the University Police mishandled the investigation. Call the Charlottesville Police - sorry, they don't have jurisdiction in on-grounds housing. So, what happened? The guy raped another undergraduate six months later. See how great the system works? Thank God Liz has the fortitude to openly speak out about this issue. You may mock her, but surely you are hearing the message. If not, visit www.uvavictimsofrape.com.

Also, KF - if you send a message through my website, I will forward it to Liz.

"Likewise, I think Liz needs to lighten up! It's been 20 years and she is apparently doing quite well despite her unfortunate college experiences. Sometimes I wonder why people who have it so good want to watch others suffer. I would have begged the district attorney to offer him a plea deal to serve probation and community service if I had been in her position. He would carry a felony charge on his record, but he would have an opportunity to set the thing right. Unfortunately, I think she hopes he will get butt raped in prison based on the arrogant attitude she showed in the interview.

Maybe there are more facts about Beebe which have yet to come out and I will change my opinion. "

Ralph - I won't lump you in with the other sadists like Monica, but am I actually hearing you say that because she is not some homeless person, she doesn't deserve justice? And Susan is right - the victim has NO say in what happens. The CA decides what to prosecute.

OH, am I too late? He pled guilty. Guess he did it after all. Monster.