Richmond, Va. A man who sexually assaulted a fellow University of Virginia student then apologized to her two decades later as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program was released Thursday after serving less than six months of an 18-month sentence.
William Beebe, 42, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in November to aggravated sexual battery for attacking Liz Seccuro at a fraternity party in 1984. In March, a judge ordered a 10-year prison sentence with all but 18 months suspended.
Virginia abolished parole for all crimes committed after 1994, but because the crime occurred a decade earlier, Beebe was a candidate for early release.
"Having waited 20 years for justice this shortened sentence makes justice feel incomplete," Seccuro wrote in an e-mail. "I take heart in the knowledge that the punishment for this crime is more certain today in Virginia."
Beebe, sporting long hair and a goatee, left the Charlottesville jail without commenting to reporters. He plans to live in Chesterfield, Va.
"This matter came to light because he tried to right a wrong," said his attorney, Rhonda Quagliana. "Mr. Beebe has been sufficiently punished for his misjudgment."
In 2005, Beebe wrote Seccuro a letter of apology as part of AA's 12-step recovery program. The ninth step calls on alcoholics to make amends to those they have harmed - unless doing so would cause further injury. In an exchange of e-mails that ensued, Beebe wrote: "I want to make clear that I'm not intentionally minimizing the fact of having raped you. I did."
Seccuro, 40, of Greenwich, Conn., reported the assault to university officials back in 1984, but said a dean and the campus police treated her dismissively. After receiving Beebe's letter, she eventually decided to call Charlottesville police. There is no statute of limitations on felonies in Virginia.
Beebe had originally been charged with rape and object sexual penetration and could have received life in prison. But in November, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge as part of a plea deal after investigators uncovered information suggesting Seccuro was attacked by more than one person.