Molester dies: Child kidnapper slain in prison

A convicted child rapist whose pending release inspired a Virginia law to keep dangerous sex offenders behind bars was found slain in his state prison cell, officials said last week.

Richard A. Ausley, who kidnapped a teenage boy, buried him in a box, and sexually molested him for a week in 1973, was discovered by a prison worker late January 13 in the cell he shared with another inmate, Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said.

An autopsy conducted the following day showed that Ausley was strangled and suffered blunt trauma to the torso, according to Evelyn Henson, a district administrator for the Virginia medical examiner's office in Richmond.

The man Ausley repeatedly raped three decades ago said the state attorney general's office informed him that Ausley was found strangled in his cell.

"I'm shocked,'' said Paul Martin Andrews, a computer technician who now lives in Miami. "This is not what I wanted for him. I don't hate Richard Ausley.''

The Department of Corrections is investigating the death.

"Richard Ausley's crimes were properly handled by the Commonwealth, and he deserved to be kept away from society for the rest of his life,'' Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said in a statement. "However, we have a legal system for a reason, and we cannot condone the circumstances of his death."

Traylor said Ausley died at around 10:30 or 11pm January 13 at Sussex I State Prison in Waverly, where Ausley had been since November. Ausley and his cellmate were in the cell during that period, he said.

Ausley, 64, previously was serving his sentence at Brunswick Correctional Center. He could have been released from prison as early as March 2007.

Ausley had suffered from serious health problems, according to the Portsmouth commonwealth's attorney's office. Traylor said he was unable to comment on Ausley's health issues because of privacy law.

Ausley was sentenced to more than 47 years in prison in 1973 for abducting Andrews in Portsmouth and burying him in a wooden box in Suffolk. Ausley had been scheduled for release from prison last November, but five years were added to his sentence in August after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting another teenager, Gary Founds of Portsmouth, in 1972.

Founds, now in his 40s, said he stepped forward with his story after hearing about Ausley's scheduled release.

Ausley's impending release prompted legislators to approve funding last year for the state's civil commitment program for sexual predators. Andrews lobbied state legislators to pass the law, which allows authorities to hold offenders indefinitely in a secure treatment center after their prison terms end.

Kilgore's office filed court papers to have Ausley committed after his release.

Ausley also had been convicted in 1961 of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old Suffolk boy and leaving him hogtied in the woods. He was sentenced to 26 years but was released on parole in November 1971.

An official with Human Rights Watch, which researches and documents prison conditions in the United States, said there is a "risk factor'' in allowing offenders who prey on children within the general population.

"They are considered the lowest, the most despised people in the prison population,'' said Joanne Mariner. "Other prisoners feel they gain respect by harming those prisoners.''

Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney Earle C. Mobley said his office was trying to contact Founds to let him know what had happened. Mobley called Ausley's death a "sad ending to a very sad story.''

"I'm just glad that it has finally come to an end, and we're assured now that he'll never harm anyone again,'' he said.

Associated Press writers Adrienne Schwisow and Larry O'Dell contributed to this report.


In an interview with the Hook last week, Andrews expressed his shock over the killing and says he will soon move to Virginia to continue his efforts to keep molesters away from children.–editor

 Ausley's victim, Martin Andrews, told the story of his week-long ordeal in the January 30, 2003 issue of The Hook.

Richard Alvin Ausley