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Regret leads to arrest in '84 rape

Victim went to police after months of talking with apparent attacker

Jan 7, 2006 | RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH Police have arrested a Las Vegas man for the rape of a University of Virginia student 21 years ago, after the man contacted the victim a few months ago to express his remorse.

William N. Beebe, 41, was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas and charged in the October 1984 rape, according to Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.

The woman is now a 39-year-old married businesswoman in Connecticut.

The woman reported the rape to Charlottesville police last month after she began receiving communications, including e-mails, from her attacker, who broached the incident and apparently expressed his regret.

That regret "may have prompted his communication with her," said Longo. "He told her where he was and that he welcomed communication from her to discuss this incident. It was a pretty open dialogue."

The woman struggled with her emotions after several months of e-mails from her attacker, before contacting police, said Longo.

"She was surprised and alarmed to receive that contact," said Longo. "I think it was remarkably courageous of this woman to come forth and open up this aspect of her life."

Longo said the victim told police the rape occurred inside the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on Madison Lane at a social event.

"It was an attack," said Longo. "This was not a date rape."

Longo said the woman told him she reported the attack to a U.Va. dean at the time, but no action was taken. "U.Va. is now looking into what was done back then. It was not reported to city police."

"Because it is a criminal case, we can't comment on specifics," said U.Va. spokeswoman Carol Wood. "But we have fully cooperated with police since we learned about this. And we have been in contact with the victim because she did reach out to the university to let us know about the recent events."

U.Va. President John T. Casteen III has been in communication with the victim and offered to meet with her to discuss her case. Casteen told her that he was both saddened and sorry to read about what she had experienced and hoped that she might be willing for him to use her case to focus attention on rape victims'rights, Wood said in an e-mail.

For the past year and a half, Casteen has been monitoring closely the revamping of the university's sexual-assault policies and procedures with a goal of making them a national model in higher education, according to Wood.

Police interviewed the woman, who came to Charlottesville.

Beebe was initially interviewed by Charlottesville detectives several weeks ago, and a search warrant at the time of the interview led to the confiscation of his computer, authorities said.

Sgt. Dan Flaherty of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who arrested Beebe at his home Wednesday night, said, "He didn't resist arrest, but he wasn't happy about it."

Flaherty said in his opinion the assailant "believed there was a statute of limitations on the crime in Virginia, like there are in a lot of states."

There is no statute of limitations on felonies in Virginia.

Flaherty described Beebe as a single man who worked as a real estate agent selling residential property in the Las Vegas area. He is being held without bond in the local jail awaiting extradition to Virginia.

The woman, who graduated from U.Va. in 1988, told police she saw her assailant two years after the rape occurred when she ordered a pizza. She recognized the pizza-delivery man as her attacker and he recognized her, she told police.

Beebe faces a life sentence if convicted.

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