“Trial Mix”. Let’s talk about the George Huguely murder trial.

We’re now on Day 2 of jury selection in the trial of George Huguely, the University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of murdering his former girlfriend, fellow lacrosse player, Yeardley Love. I’d by lying if I said I didn’t have a dog in this fight for so many reasons. Mr. Huguely is represented by the same defense team that defended one of my rapists, and, seeing the coverage is certainly a bit of a trigger – it’s like time has stopped. Same courtroom, same Rhonda and Fran, same supporters of Miss Love, wearing pink, as my sorority sisters did in solidarity, much to the consternation and objection of Ms. Quagliana.

Courtesy: UVA Sports

It seems as though Judge Hogshire (same judge) is allowing the photographs of the crime scene, in a late decision this past Saturday night. Defense found these photos to be “prejudicial.” I daresay a jury should be allowed to see the photos of the alleged victim. Round One = Prosecution (same prosecutors, Dave and Claude).

In reading the excellent reportage from The Hook, The Daily Progress and WaPo, there seems to be a common thread among many commenters that they’ll be seeing Mr. Huguely “walking on the Downtown Mall” in about 10 years, due to the perception that Charlottesville juries are not so tough on defendants and that Charlottesville Circuit Court has a longtime history of short sentences for felony crimes. Feel free to comment on that one.

All I know is that my thoughts over the next few weeks are not with the ridiculous posturing and machinations of the defense team (they are, after all, doing their job) or how poor George had a terrible upbringing with an abusive, addict of a father and a pleaser of a mother. My thoughts are with Yeardley and her mother and sister and the notion that justice, even in the midst of a liberal jurisdiction and a media blizzard may be done.

May there be strength to all involved and prayers to the family – and wise choices on the parts of the jurors, prosecutors and Judge. I’ll be covering this and other subjects in the foreseeable future. It’s time we began to talk about this again – are University of Virginia (and other campus) women simply collateral damage behind the storied, ivied walls of a very traditional, Southern, sports-and-fraternity loving entity?

Morgan Harrington update

I never like when law enforcement goes “radio silent” on a case, but usually it’s because a) they haven’t got anything new to report or b) they do and they need to keep it from the public while they continue to piece together the investigation. They owe us, the public, nothing and while I know many folks are angry about the lack of information about Morgan’s disappearance, The Hook, a fantastic Charlottesville weekly, has done the best job of covering the story.

Kudos to Courteney Stuart, an editor of the Hook, for her outstanding reporting. Please read this article about what some witnesses are saying.

We pray for the safe return of Morgan to her family and friends. So many unanswered questions.

1) are there any photos of her that night?
2) is there any surveillance video from JPJ Arena?
3) Why is the University of Virginia choosing to remain silent about the case?
4) have the sex offenders in the area been questioned about that night?

Given the massive amount of blog commentary, Courteney has indeed done her homework, though it seems hard to get quite a few of them to stay on topic.

The University of Virginia rebuked by the Fed for attempting to silence sexual assault victims.

Four years after the college safety nonprofit Security on Campus filed a complaint against UVA for its mishandling of sexual assault cases, the Department of Education has ruled that the university has, in fact, violated federal law by threatening victims of sexual assault with punishment if they spoke about their cases.

I cannot say enough kind words about Security on Campus, the Clery Act or Annie. You can read about it here.

UPDATE: A huge “thank you” to Susan Russell, whose efforts spearheaded what happened in this case. She is a concerned mom to a survivor, an activist and the founder of an amazing website that I wish didn’t have to exist. You can check it out here.

Truly sick, vile story – still hasn’t hit the Interwebs.

Today, I learned of a story that shocked and freaked me out and is, currently, only available to University of Virginia students as the administration sent out an email about it to all faculty, staff and students as a public safety issue. It seems a University of Virginia female student spent a semester studying abroad in Italy. Not sure where. My husband took a year of study in Bologna himself while at Virginia. Anyway, while there, she keeps to herself, studies and avoids the attention of an Italian national in her class who’s a bit of a Lothario.

He keeps asking her to come to his apartment and she keeps refusing – she’s just not that into him. He persists, she demurs. On and on this goes. One night, he comes over to her place. Whether or not they actually had sex is irrelevant (and I don’t know). He slept over, most likely not having sex with her.

When she awoke, her body was covered with awful, painful and vile blisters. Freaking out, she went to the doctor in Italy. The doctors are shocked by the blisters and immediately begin grilling her about the guy, his whereabouts, etc. She is scared and confused. The Polizia locate the man, search his apartment and find the bodies of many dead women in it. He is arrested for many things, including murder and necrophilia. Yep, he had been having sex with the corpses of his victims. So, a) our girl narrowly escaped becoming a victim and b) the blisters she received were of a specific nature and caused by the bacteria of the dead bodies and his necrophiliac contact with them.

Wow. Poor girl. You know they probably named her in the intra-University email. Ugh. I’ll try to get a copy and post it.

University of Virginia crime update and a look back.

When I was a first year student at the University of Virginia, there was an ominous and bizarre case which became an international sensation – that of Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering, who were convicted for killing her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, in Lynchburg while Elizabeth and Jens were First Year students at Virginia. It is widely believed that Soering committed the actual murders himself upon the intoxicated and older Haysom couple. Apparently, the very grand Haysoms, descendants of Lady Astor, didn’t approve of Soering as a boyfriend to their daughter, ergo, arousing their ire and hatred. Soering’s defense is that he was clouded by sexual obsession from an older and experience woman. Soering, a German national, now maintains his innocence while proclaiming Haysom acted alone. Haysom, who keeps a blog, maintains Soering is crazy and acted alone. After the murders, when the heat started coming down, they fled to Europe and were eventual caught passing bad checks. They were known around Grounds as creepy, clingy, withdrawn and odd, geeky loners and outsiders who were obsessed with one another and, frankly, thought themselves superior.

Now comes the story of these two gems who kidnapped a guy and held him for 24 hours. What do you think of campus crime that seems unmotivated and senseless? Does this smack of the terror at Virginia Tech or is it about bad eggs in an otherwise good carton?

Whoville is not ‘Hooville

You all know the line: “a person’s a person, no matter how small”? Thank you, Dr. Seuss. While watching “Horton Hears a Who” this weekend, it occured to me that the seminal line from the book does not apply to Hoos. Just Whos.

Spitzer’s “Hooker Booker”? A graduate of the University of Virginia!

See how these things all connect so neatly? Tanya Hollander put that degree to good use – business acumen, people skills, ambition. Actually, she is indeed innocent until proven otherwise and I really am not ragging on her. I just think it was quite a coincidence that it tied my last few posts together so perfectly.

I wonder if she gets an invitiation to her reunion next year? Better yet, Casteen should ask her to speak at Commencement.

UPDATE: Seems Ms. Hollander attended UVa at the same time as did Mr. Not Ranting. He did not know her. OH – get your mind out of the gutter.

UPDATE: Tanya Hollander to enter her guilty plea to one count of conspiracy, hopefully avoiding jail. She’s a holistic healer, people!

University of Virginia turning its back again; rubs salt in blue and orange wound.

One has to laugh when one looks at the passive-aggressive and sad nature of this. Today, I was trying to look up a former classmate on my web-based alumni link to UVa. Of course, there are passwords and user names in order to read such confidential information, unless you are William Beebe, in which case you telephone the Alumni Office and ask for someone’s home address for your amends-making letter and get it promptly. Alas, I digress.

In the interest of confidentiality, I occasionally check on my own profile. The University of Virginia wiped me from their database as if I never attended, never graduated. I’m just gone. Do they want me to return my diploma because I was raped there by a fellow student and spoke the truth? What does this say about your rights to free speech, privacy, identity and behemoth organizations like public universities? What would you want for your child who earned their degree; an issue separate from the crime?

An added frisson of insult: I was not invited to attend my 20-Year College Reunion this June. I was removed from the invitation list, which does not exactly seem as though that can be done. The Alumni Office confirmed they removed me.

John Casteen, Patricia Lampkin, Carol Wood and all those fine folks there can spin this any which way, but you cannot say that someone who spent four years studying and earned a degree at a school is now not eligible for alumni status and benefits. If anyone reads this, I just thought you may want to know and register your displeasure of how institutions can silence the very brains and voices they so proudly develop. Shoot an email to one of the fine folks mentioned above. Perhaps they forget: William Beebe was the (admitted and convicted) rapist and did not graduate. The Commonwealth agreed and imprisoned him. I did graduate and am a contributing member of society.

Does this make you sad/mad? Or does it not surprise you at all?

UPDATE: Well, within days (hours?) of this post, I received, get this, invitations to my reunion as well as an apologetic “gee, we most certainly did NOT pull your profile out of the Alumni database, but we totally can’t understand how it’s gone”. Yeah, that’s weird how that happens. Apparently, I am now, once again, a graduate. Thanks, guys!