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Investigation of UVA fraternity rape case stalled despite confession


More evidence is needed to prosecute two suspects in a 1984 sexual assault case even though a recovering alcoholic recently confessed to the crime as part of his 12-step program and promised to help investigators, the victim said Tuesday.

Liz Seccuro of Greenwich, Conn., said she was told during a morning conference call with the police chief, the prosecutor, her victim’s advocate and a detective that they believe she was attacked by three men at a University of Virginia fraternity party but have been unable to get witnesses to talk.

Seccuro said she and authorities know the names of the suspects, but the evidence gathered against them is still circumstantial.

“I understand more than anybody that you need to be able to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Seccuro. “And unfortunately in rape cases, where you’re dealing with a fraternity … that wall of silence and that bond of brotherhood apparently lasts for life.”

There is no statute of limitations on felonies in Virginia, and Seccuro said she remains hopeful that someone will come forward with new information that will lead to additional arrests.

“It is an open investigation,” Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said. “We certainly have not lost hope in the case, and we’re certainly not going to forget about her (Seccuro) we’ve just exhausted all the leads we have in front of us.”

In 2005, William Beebe, 42, of Las Vegas, wrote Seccuro a letter of apology attempting to atone for the crime as part of the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program. The program’s 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.”

Beebe pleaded guilty in November to one count of aggravated sexual battery for the assault and is serving an 18-month sentence.

During the investigation, authorities uncovered new information suggesting Seccuro was attacked by not just Beebe, but additional men that night.

Seccuro, 40, said she was given a drink at the party that made her feel strange, and she later passed out, leaving her memory hazy. She said she vividly recalls being attacked by Beebe, but always had a vague impression she’d been assaulted by additional members of the fraternity.

“There could be a lot of other people that were there that night who know something about this case and now we need their help,” Longo said.

At the sentencing hearing in March, prosecutor Claude Worrell said Beebe hadn’t given prosecutors any helpful information.

Worrell did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.

Seccuro went public with her name and story, hoping to lead other sexual assault survivors to seek help. She launched STARS Sisters Together Assisting Rape Survivors to raise money for rape victims and their families.

“I will never give up hope that we will see the end of this,” Seccuro said. “Even though this is a very disappointing day for me and my family, it’s just a bump in the road.”

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