Who remembers the case of the man who was arrested and tried for a 1984 rape, after using his AA program to write a letter of confession and apology to his victim? I remember it well. I loved the bravery of the victim, Liz Seccuro, who shamelessly went public with her story. She refused to accept an apology as a form of justice, and had to watch others both excuse the crime that happened “so long ago” and excuse the “apologetic” rapist.
That man, William Beebe, is now being released on parole after serving only six months in jail.
William Beebe, 42, pleaded guilty in November to one count of aggravated sexual battery for his attack on Liz Seccuro while at the University of Virginia. In March, a judge ordered a 10-year prison sentence with all but 18 months suspended.
Seccuro was shocked when informed Tuesday by Beebe’s parole officer of his impending release. She said she was never given the opportunity to speak to the parole board.
“Everywhere in America I’ve seen, the victim has a say,” Seccuro said. “And that’s the problem rape victims are voiceless.”
Virginia abolished parole for all crimes committed after 1994, but because the crime occurred a decade earlier, Beebe is a candidate for early release. He has a projected release date of Sept. 17.
How seriously fucked up can you get? The man admitted to rape. His letter contained the words: “I want to make clear that I’m not intentionally minimizing the fact of having raped you. I did.” What the hell more do you possibly need? I don’t care how long ago it was. And while addiction sure sucks, being raped by an addict has to suck an awful lot more. I don’t care that he’s sorry. An apology should not be a get out of jail free card for a violent crime.
But, apparently, it is.
I’m happy that Seccuro is still speaking out, and hasn’t allowed herself to be shamed into silence. But it’s very little consolation, and in no way makes up for the injustice of a 10 year sentence being turned into six months in jail. Maybe this will silence the rape apologists who think that feminists are hysterical women when they speak up about society’s indifference towards rape. But somehow, I doubt it.