Wednesday, November 15, 2006

anyone else see this? this is from my local paper:

AA Step May Yield Jail Term
Recovering Alcoholic's Apology For Two-Decade-Old Rape Brings Prosecution
November 15, 2006
By KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press

A man who sexually assaulted a fellow student at a fraternity party in 1984, then apologized to her two decades later as part of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, pleaded guilty Tuesday and could go to prison.

William Beebe, 41, calmly entered a plea to aggravated sexual battery as his victim, Liz Seccuro of Greenwich, Conn., bowed her head and wiped away tears.

"Twenty-two years ago I harmed another person, and I have tried to set that right," the real estate agent and former University of Virginia student said outside court.

Under the plea bargain, prosecutors asked that Beebe get two years in prison when he is sentenced in March.

Prosecutor Claude Worrell said authorities agreed to the deal in part because the investigation revealed that more than one person may have sexually assaulted Seccuro at the party. Beebe agreed to cooperate with the investigation into what happened to Seccuro that night.

The ninth step in AA's 12-step recovery program calls on alcoholics to make amends to those they have harmed. Last year, Beebe wrote Seccuro a letter of apology, and an exchange of e-mails ensued, in which he wrote: "I want to make clear that I'm not intentionally minimizing the fact of having raped you. I did."

In December, Seccuro called Charlottesville police to report what had happened. Beebe was arrested in Las Vegas.

It was unclear whether Beebe knew he could still be prosecuted for the crime in Virginia, which has no statute of limitations on felonies. Beebe and his attorney refused to answer questions outside court.

Seccuro went public with her name and story, hoping to lead other sexual assault survivors to seek help.

On the one hand, way to take sexual assault seriously!

On the other hand, no good deed goes unpunished.

On the other other hand, two measly years for ruining someone's life? maybe one could take sexual assault a little more seriously.

On the other other other hand - there's really NO statute of limitations on felonies in Virginia? uh-oh...

jeez, you'd have to be a whole family of octopi to have enough "other hands" for this.

I wonder if this news story will inhibit other twelve-steppers, or somehow cause them to skip or weasel out of the ninth step. What does AA HQ (if there is one) have to say about this?

I have to say, I'm a little worried about the precedent this sets. if the 39-year-old me is ever brought up before the magistrate to answer for crimes committed by the 18-year-old me, I'm not sure how well I'd fare, frankly. the fact that my youthful indiscretions did not include raping my classmates doesn't do much to assuage my guilty (and now a little fearful) conscience.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Ms. Securro was seventeen and a virgin at the time of the rape, and that she thinks someone put something in her drink, and that she went to the authorities who blew her off, as was common at the time.

So, one side of this coin is - wow, isn't it great that sexual assault is taken much more seriously now than 22 years ago! What progress! isn't it great that women finally can see justice done! Hooray, the system works!

But the flip side is - dude, she's wrestled with this for two decades, and he gets two lousy years and then he's done? he's clean? it's all over? how does that even come close to fair? How is that justice? shit, the system sucks, just like it always did.

and then the other side is (damn, I ran out of sides, just like I ran out of hands)-
I sure as hell hope the system doesn't work so well for my criminal ass...

any thoughts?

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Well, I wouldn't call a rape a youthful indiscretion; but uh yeah, way to encourage other men to go and do likewise. Throw him in jail as a symbolic punishment (because clearly atonement and genuine amends can't be part of it; no, there must be PUNISHMENT); at the same time, make sure it's -only- symbolic. so effectively if he really is a danger, he's only gonna be off the streets for a little while.

let him go after two years in the pokey with nary a follow-up except for parole.

we're kind of fucked up, collectively speaking.

on edit; on the other hand, if the victim -herself- turned him in, i feel a lot colder about him and the whole situation; i think ultimately it's really up to her to determine what is and isn't sufficient to "make amends."

at first read for some reason i had assumed that some third party had stepped in without the victim's go-ahead, which idea pissed me off.

but well, hey, if she wants to prosecute, prosecute away, I say.

it does kind of suck wrt AA and such, but...well, saying "I'm sorry" doesn't really suffice, frankly, for something on that level.
i mean, look, if he'd turned himelf in for murder after twenty years, i don't think that i'd look at the following trial and jail time as "no good deed goes unpunished."

since the woman's alive, again, the harm done is ultimately on her say so. clearly she still felt sufficiently strongly that she went ahead and pressed charges, even after all this time. i guess he did leave a vivid imprint on her, at that.
How right you are!
A string of skillfully executed rapes occurred in the early 1960s by an upperclassman living on fraternity row at Georgia Tech where the bond of Greek brotherhood remains every bit as unshakable today as it did in the sixties. Like Seccuro, I was a virgin. It was set up in advance (twice!) by a person I trusted. I was drugged. My life was derailed, but I would not tell (jeeze, it was the "sixties"). I could not even bring myself to confront the rapist. Nobody can imagine what I went through ... depression, repressed memories, flashbacks for 43 years. This monster belongs behind bars for the malevolent tactics he used to dehumanize me and other unsuspecting women. Instead, he golfs, plays gin and sips his scotch.

As with any rapist, lies the incessant need to overpower, but "JD"'s single most compelling reason for the degradation of women:

"the constant and overwhelming struggle to convince himself that he liked girls, and to prove his masculinity to the brotherhood"

Aww, the good ol' days in Atlanta! Dodd Stadium, the Varsity Drive-In, Hank & Jerry's, Witts Inn, Aunt Fanny's Cabin. Such innocence. Date rape drugs didn't exist? Wrong! Anyone can contact me at
Date rape drugs didn't exist? Wrong!

apparently, according to wikipedia, experiments with GHB for various purposes began in 1964.

and of course, there's the time-honored classic, the Mickey Finn:

The Mickey Finn is reputedly named for the owner and bartender of a Chicago establishment, the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden Restaurant, which operated from 1896 to 1903...The act of serving a Mickey Finn Special was a coordinated robbery orchestrated by Finn. First, Finn or one of his employees, which included "house girls", would slip a drug (Chloral Hydrate) in the unsuspecting patron's drink. The incapacitated patron would be escorted or carried into a back room by one of Finn's associates who would then rob the victim and dump him in an alley. Upon awaking the next morning in a nearby alley, the victim would remember nothing.

so yeah, the history of knockout drops or other incapacitating substances is long.
if the victim -herself- turned him in, i feel a lot colder about him and the whole situation; i think ultimately it's really up to her to determine what is and isn't sufficient to "make amends."

that is certainly true. so, yeah, prosecute away if you can.

but why only two years? doesn't he get docked for being a fugitive or something?
What a tough situation to evaluate. I agree with you that the matter would take on a different cast if someone other than the victim herself was pushing it forward.

Americans tend to have an exaggerated faith in apologies qua apologies. If an apology is going to mean anything at all, it has to mean making yourself vulnerable to another person's judgement, because you accept (in this particular case) theirs over yours. If that judgement includes prosecution, or some other form of atonement, so be it. Otherwise the AA program becomes oddly self-centered, with the alcoholic apologizing but being closed off to any response.

The sentence appears fair. Two years is not a reasonable sentence is most cases of aggravated sexual battery; this is not most cases. The leniency of the sentence helps keep the precedent from being absolutely paralyzing to people who want to do what Beebe did: cooperate in another rape investigation, recover from an illness (alcoholism) that may have been a factor in the crime, apologize the victim, and plead guilty to her charges.

What the Georgia Tech rape victim describes is a different situation, without mitigating factors (except time). My sympathies are with her.
GTRV - I am sorry you had (and continue to have) such a painful experience.

do stories like this one help you personally heal at all, or do nothing for you?
>Americans tend to have an exaggerated faith in apologies qua apologies. If an apology is going to mean anything at all, it has to mean making yourself vulnerable to another person's judgement, because you accept (in this particular case) theirs over yours. If that judgement includes prosecution, or some other form of atonement, so be it. Otherwise the AA program becomes oddly self-centered, with the alcoholic apologizing but being closed off to any response.>

You're right.

On the flip side--and I am not saying that this is what's happening in this instance--we also tend to put waayyyy too much stock in the idea that -punishment- really helps.

-Cause and effect- are important, it seems to me; having to take the consequences for hurting someone, sure. also, yes, some people really do need to be kept off the streets, although not -nearly- as many as the ones who are actually penned up, I'd say (and of course their time inside generally makes them -less- suited to life in the "real world.")

but yeah, i think a lot of people get vengeance and justice all mixed up. i'm not saying i'm holier-than and have never felt the urge toward or even engaged in vengeance; just, i think it's important to distinguish one from the other. know thyself, in other words.
On one hand she has had to deal with this for two deck-ades! Long time to deal with it no? Yes.
On the other hand she has delt with it for two deck-ades and still can deal with her life. Why didn't she go to the cops as soon as she got the letter. I think I know why, she didn't know that the law was inforcable after 20 years, until some one told her the she jumped on it!
I think under these events I would like to say... I am a man and I'm sorry! Its guys like these that give guys like me a bad rap. This man also should not be seen as the scum of the earth be cause that place is held for our very own Vice President. And what about all the other individauls that took part in said rape? They are worse then him... right?
Isn't there a sub-rule to that step that says to make amends unless you cause even more harm in the attempt?

Never was a big 12-step fan ...
Isn't there a sub-rule to that step that says to make amends unless you cause even more harm in the attempt?

I think that is correct, but I think the implication is "more harm TO OTHERS", not necessarily to yourself.

but yeah, ax, I had that thought too.
Thank you for your kind words! I think you asked if cases like Seccuro's (justice for the victim) helps ease my own situation? Well, not really, although I'm happy that she has some degree of satisfaction. Certainly I wish there were no Statute of Limitations for Rape in the State of Georgia, as in Virginia. But even if that wiswh were granted, there's the time element of 4 decades, no DNA, and the "brotherhood of XYZ" who will never reveal the perpetrator's secret. I sure appreciate your interest, thanks!
To fortunate son: this has nothing to do with AA amends, just rape. I have nothing but the highest regard for those in recovery. The apology could have come in any form, in any context. I called the Charlottesville Police in December because Beebe's emails to me were getting more and more erratic and the letter came to my home, where I live with my child. We were concerned for our safety, as he knew where we lived. Oh, yes, the University gave him my addresses, right over the phone, for about nine years! I did not know anything about a statute of limitations, just called to see if perhaps they could help.

I am very glad people are choosing to discuss this topic!
You are Liz Seccuro? If so, I sure wish I knew your email address. Mine is
Hey, thank you for stopping by and clarifying. and yeah, that scenario makes total sense. and geez, thanks University. -sigh-. gah. you did the right thing.
You are very welcome, and yes, I am Liz Seccuro, but I never post with my email address as there are a lot of naysayers who intend to harm me. You should only see the mail received by my non-profit. Truly ugly. Written by folks who really have no grasp on a case that's been investigated (and still is) for over 14 months and the subtleties thereof. I hope my post cleared some misconceptions and assured all bloggers that punishment was never really a goal. It was about personal safety. Imagine being violated in that way only to have this monster reach out again. I cannot describe it. No anger, no vengeance. Self-preservation, yes!

Yes, and I love that fact that if I want to look up an old classmate or sorority sister, I must go through the alumni online link with about 10 passwords, because, ahem, "it's all about security and privacy" but a rapist who dropped out of school his second year, not an alum, can just ring up the office and track me for nine years. These are his own words to me in an email.
Alright, if I cannot email you, the least you can do for me is access my blog. Thanks.
Your comments on my blog would be much appreciated.
thanks very much, Liz.
I think this guy should get another 5 years for being stupid enough to contact this woman after 22 years. And I don't buy the bullshit of this being a life destroying experience. I mean hell it is not as bad has having one of your children die or something. There are 6 billion people in this world and this woman has it 1,000 times better than 90% of them if she had been raped 30 times.

Do me a favor and delete my last post. I did not realize until too late that the Liz S. lady was posting here. No sense in her reading my post since it was not supportive.

She did not do anything wrong. Taking responsibility and owning\ your wrong will help you to heal as well. The conscious of a man will resume guilt if he or she is guilty, which usually leaves them vulnerable to commit the same act again. When take ownership for your choices, somehow supernationally you release the person you have wronged, otherwise they are left with your dirt.
"On the other hand, no good deed goes unpunished."

No offense but are you kidding me? I broke into Shea Stadium when I was 24 and ran around the bases. I didn't call my ex girlfriend when I broke up with her. When I become an alcoholic, I will apologize to the Mets and to her. But what "good deed" did this guy really do? He rightfully felt guilty, and finally admitted to raping an innocent girl. I am a 35-year-old man. Liz S. is doing the right thing. My only regrets are it took WAY too long for justice to be served, and the punishment is way too small. If Liz reads this, I just want you to know that you are a very strong woman, and I applaud you. You should hold your head up high, not many women would be as strong as you.
I'm a psychotherapist and feel for all that Liz has been put through but the idea that she has no remorse for a man who bravely came forward to right his wrongs is horrible. He admits to being an alcoholic and under the influence - Liz has obviously not been exposed to what alcoholism is.
I've read many accounts of this, and the details are complex and quite difficult to sort out. But one thing stands out for me: in all the articles and interviews, Securro has never talked about steps she has actually taken towards healing her own wounds. Beebe's past actions were reprehensible, and his present actions may be questionable, but as a survivor of abuse myself I know that one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome is recognizing that while not responsible for my trauma, I am responsible for my healing. Liz, I hope you can find some healing. And some day, you may appreciate having the opportunity to confront a repentant violator.
Liz S. didn't seek an apology. Beebe committed a crime. His amends were part of his 12 step program and were done for his benefit. His initial rape and his later amends had consequences. In both cases he had the privilege of actively instigating the acts. Liz S. however had the unfortunate misfortune of receiving unwanted invasions from Mr. Beebe.

Now come again - whose at fault?
I think that Liz has tremendous courage. She is the victim of a violent crime and has lived with all of the emotions and pain of her attack for twenty years, and is a survivor. By coming forward she is empowering herself and other victims of rape, men and women alike. God bless you Liz.
After reading as much as I could find on this story, my thoughts are; Liz had a choice to make and she choose to prosecute. But she could just as well have said, you are forgiven, and I except your willingness to right a wrong to me.
In A.A. we are called to examine the cost to our victim and all that may be affected. We are called to harm no one in making our amends. More harm was done by this amends, as more people were harmed than in the beginning of this act of Rape. With true forgiveness there is healing, and that is what we all wont. Virgil
When i was young i had this reoccuring dream that my cousin touched me one night at my grandmothers house, in my dream i pretended to sleep so he would stop and he didnt. The dream haunted me for several years until one year my cousin came to stay with us in alaska for the summer. I passed this off as some sort of messed up dream, something made up in my head until one day i was left alone with my cousin ( who as 8 years older than myself) and while i was napping he came into the room, i could barely breathe, i pretended to sleep, i didnt want this to be happening to me and he did it, he pulled down my tights, and began to put his fingers inside of me, i closed my eyes tight, i hoped somebody would come into the room, see what he was doing, see that i wasnt crazy, nobody came. This happened several times that summer, i believe i was in about 5th grade at the time because i was learing about bad touching at school. I hid this inside until when i was 16 i told my mother and all she had to say was that she knew something happened, and that i needed to just get over it. I talked about it with my therapist ( i was diagnosed as being bipolar with passive suicidal tendancies when i was 13) and she told us that she would have to alert the police, my mother refused to press charges, he said that metally he wasnt all there, she made excuses and to this day this guy is walking the streets, free. He never acknowledged what he did, and to make it worse my mother still sent me to my grandmothers house where my cousin lives, she told me to get over it, well i cant. I dont think i can press charges without making a huge rift in my family and i know if it comes down to it they will feel sorry for him and take his side. I told his sister what had happened, she pretty much told me she didnt believe me, so now im pinned as a liar. Now i am left a shell of a person, i live with this everyday. When i turned 18 i was no longer on my parents medical insurance so i could no longer take my depression medication, i have horrible night terrors, panic attacks and ive tried to commit suicide twice, yet i am the crazy one, i am the one with problems.

if you have any ideas or know of any resources feel free to email me at
Although I do not call rape a youthful indiscression, I do believe that Mr Beebee's recollection of that evening is more believable then Ms Seccura. I find her to be malicious, vindictive, and a liar. She says she has a kind and forgiving heart but that is clearly not the case. She immediately upon receiving that letter, set out to extract revenge. She had a good life and got on with her life. She jumped at the opportunity for revenge. A previous poster stated that Ms Seccura is responsible for her own healing, not only that, she also bears personal responsibility for what happened that night. She was neligent in taking a drink that she did not see prepared and knew not what the contents where. She allowed herself to be separated from her friend rather then keeping herself safe at all times. Yes, she too has a role in the events of that evening. She is so busy playing the poor me, I never got over it card, that she fails to look at her own role in the matter and how she put herself in that position. What vengence will she demand of herself? PS If you watched the Dateline special and read the articles online about this case you would know that the annonymous poster on this site is NOT Liz as she did not contact the police because she was frightend or afraid. She did it for vengence pure and simple, it is what it is and she should be as brave as he was and stand up and call it what it is.
Liz is cold, calculating, and vindictive. As a woman and a human, I am deeply offended by her. This man came forward and acknowledged that he had done a terrible wrong to her. She sought Vengence pure and simple. She does not have a forgiving bone in her body. He lived with his actions for over twenty years, in that same amount of time,she had more then enough time to get over it. There is in fact every indication that she had put it behind her, she is a very sucessful business woman, she is a mother and a wife. Her life went on. His did not. The fact of the matter is, she has some responsibility in the situation as well. She choose to go to that frat party, she choose to drink what was offered to her without question. She is so busy being hateful and vindictive she seems to have forgotten all about personal responsibility and she plays the poor me card rather then be objective and talk about what she could have done different so there would have been a different outcome that night for everyone involved. I wish much luck and future sucess to Mr Beebee now that he will never have to deal with the ruthless Liz again, he owes her nothing, now she owes him!
That last post signed "Sandy" was obviously written by a RAPIST.
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