March 15, 2007
On Thursday, William Beebe stood as he heard his sentence. It was a sentence of ten years, but most of it suspended, or served on probation. Beebe will essentially spend 18 months behind bars for a crime that happened nearly 23 years ago.
Beebe, in handcuffs, was escorted from the courthouse Thursday evening shortly after learning his sentence.
In front of the building, the victim, Elizabeth Seccuro had mixed emotions.
"It's always hard to ask a survivor what you think is enough," said Seccuro. "I think that the point was made that what happened to me was not benign."
Beebe is guilty of sexually assaulting Seccuro at a UVA fraternity party in 1984. He wrote a letter to her in 2005 to apologize, as part of an Alcoholics Anonymous program. That's when Seccuro contacted authorities.
"Mr. Beebe was always prepared to live with the consequences of his decision to write Ms. Seccuro the letter, and we were pleased that the court imposed a sentence of less than two years," said defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana.
Initially, prosecutors recommended Beebe spend two years in prison as part of a plea agreement. In return, Beebe was to help prosecutors in their investigation into whether more than one person participated in the assault.
So far no new suspects have been announced.
But despite no new information, and a sentence of less than two years, the prosecution was satisfied.
"It means that it wasn't insignificant to the court," explained prosecutor Claude Worrell. "What happened to Ms. Seccuro was something that deserved something more than just a diminished amount of punishment."
Thursday evening as Seccuro put this part of the investigation behind her, she said she forgives her attacker.
"You can't live the life I live now without- you can't harbor that sort of hatred or seed of unforgiveness. You have to forgive before you can rebuild yourself," she said.
Beebe's attorney said her client has already registered as a sex offender in Florida, and plans to move there when he is released.
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