Beebe's back: Accused rapist surrenders
Less than two weeks after he was arrested in Las Vegas for allegedly raping a 17-year-old fellow UVA student at a fraternity house in 1984, William Nottingham Beebe voluntarily surrendered to Charlottesville officials on January 16.
The next day, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Edward Dejarnette Berry denied Commonwealth Attorney Claude Worrell's request that Beebe be held at the Albemarle Regional Jail, and ordered his release on $30,000 bond.
"We are pleased that the judge set a reasonable bond," says Beebe's attorney, Rhonda Quagliana. "It was always Mr. Beebe's intention to return to Virginia to answer to these accusations."
Worrell did not return the Hook's call.
(The case is being handled in the J&D court because the victim was 17 at the time of the alleged assault.)
In addition to posting bond, Beebe– who will live with a friend in Richmond during the legal proceedings– agreed to turn over his passport, to have no contact with the victim, to remain in Virginia, and to attend daily meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Ironically, it was Beebe's adherence to AA's 12-step program that led to his arrest.
Step Eight encourages the member to make a list of "all persons we had harmed," and Step Nine states that members must make direct amends to such persons, "except when to do so would injure them or others."
The Hook's January 12 cover story, "I harmed you: 21 years and 12 steps later, rape apology backfires," revealed that in September, Beebe wrote a letter to his alleged victim, Liz Seccuro, "making amends."
"In October 1984," he wrote nearly 21 years later, "I harmed you." He gave Seccuro his contact information. "My prayer," he wrote, "is that you be free and happy in your life."
Seccuro, however, says his apology offered her no comfort– in fact, it accomplished quite the opposite, bringing back memories of an assault she says left her bruised and bloody.
"I did not get to choose being raped and having my virginity taken from me so brutally. Now I don't get to choose having this wound reopened," she wrote in one of a series of emails the two exchanged.
Seccuro says that after the alleged assault at the Phi Kappa Psi house, she waited at the UVA hospital emergency room for five hours without being examined. Eventually, she says, "I left. I just wanted to be home."
Though she says she took her story to UVA administration and spoke to UVA police, Seccuro says she felt "shut down," and no charges were ever filed.
UVA spokesperson Carol Wood says the school is looking into how Seccuro's case was handled at the time.
"She should know she has the support of the University," says Wood, "and our hope is that she will find peace and resolution."
Seccuro hopes Beebe's words in one of his emails may eventually give her some resolution.
""I'm not intentionally minimizing the fact of having raped you," he wrote. "I did."
Armed with the confession, Seccuro flew to Charlottesville and filed a complaint with Charlottesville Police in mid-December. Police seized Beebe's computer in Las Vegas, and, after confirming that the ISP address matched, issued a warrant for his arrest.
Beebe was arrested by Las Vegas police on January 4 and released by a Nevada judge January 11 on $20,000 bond.
Quagliana says Beebe never confessed, and that his words are being taken out of context. "This was bad behavior, poor judgment, immature, and all those other things," says Quagliana, "but it was not a rape."
Beebe's denial is "sickening," says Seccuro. "He knows what he did."
Worrell suggested at Beebe's bond hearing that there is now "evidence that there might be some physical evidence, and that others may have seen" something the night of the alleged attack.
According to UVA spokesperson Carol Wood, the school recently discovered a file relating to Seccuro's charges, and a source close to the investigation says that file contains the names of others who may have been at the Phi Psi party that night.
A preliminary hearing is set for March 24 in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
William Nottingham Beebe leaves the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court following his bond hearing on Tuesday, January 17.
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO
Liz Seccuro says the attack in the Phi Kappa Psi house was brutal.
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO