Beebe to serve 18 months

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Beebe to serve 18 months

Correction appended

William Beebe, the man who pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault in an incident at a 1984 UVA fraternity party was sentenced to 18 months in prison and taken into custody March 15.

Before the proceeding, Beebe sat at the defendants’ table, his head tilted up slightly, his eyes closed. The courtroom was full of reporters, local lawyers and members of the public. About a dozen supporters from recovery programs came out on Beebe’s behalf.

William Beebe got 10 years, with all but one and a half suspended, for a 1984 aggravated sexual assault.

The attorneys rehashed some of the details of the much-publicized case: As part of a 12-step program for alcoholism recovery, Beebe wrote a letter to Elizabeth Seccuro in fall 2005 to apologize for a sexual encounter that occurred two decades before. An e-mail communication ensued, and when the two parties disagreed about whether a rape had occurred, Seccuro called the Charlottesville police. There is no statute of limitations on rape charges in Virginia.

In November, Beebe pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery and agreed to help prosecutors with information to mount possible gang rape charges related to the incident.
Claude V. Worrell, Charlottesville deputy Commonwealth’s attorney, said that Beebe was cooperative, but he didn’t offer anything “particularly helpful.” The Commonwealth is still planning to further investigate a gang rape.

Defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana asked for leniency, and said, “There is a sense in which the victim is inconsolable.” As she made her statements, Seccuro dabbed her eyes and at one point stalked out of the courtroom.

Judge Edward L. Hogshire handed down 10 years with all but one and a half suspended. Beebe must also register as a sex offender and serve 500 hours of community service educating college students about the link between excessive drinking and sexual assault.

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Correction March 27, 2007:

In “Beebe to serve 18 months” [Courts & Crime News, March 20], it is stated that William Beebe pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault in an incident at a 1984 UVA fraternity party. In fact, Mr. Beebe pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery, as is stated later in the piece.