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Posted at 10:50 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Victim: 1973 rape 'affects me every day'

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Editors

She lives in Potomac. She works as a peer counselor for a non-profit. On Oct. 4, 1973, she tried to hitch a ride along Massachusetts Avenue in the District.

Bill Wallshleger picked her up, pulled out a gun, taped her eyes shut, drove to his farm in Northern Virginia, chained her and raped her. She was 19.

Sitting at her kitchen table recently, the 56-year-old mother of two recalled being raped 37 years ago. The memory is still fresh, she said. "As much as you'd like it to go away, it's always there. It's not at the forefront of your memory, but it's there," she said.

Three weeks after Wallshleger raped her, he picked up a 16-year-old hitchhiker in Maryland and raped her at the same farm. That case is the subject of a Post story that recounts how the second victim, now 53, spoke at a recent parole hearing for her rapist.

READ: The full story | Related documents | Post reporter on meeting rapist Bill Wallshleger

Wallshleger has been a model inmate since his incarceration. The 53-year-old victim described her struggles after the assault - they included panic attacks, eating disorders and relationship difficulties - and told parole commissioners to keep Wallshleger in prison.

In an interview with the Post, the 56-year-old recounted her own experiences since the attack. "In its own way, it affects me every day of my life," she said.

She too has had issues with eating. She is careful about where she walks and where she parks her car. Her career - 30 years in retail - was tied to the rape, she said, because the attack made studying difficult and prompted her to drop out of American University, where she studied education.

She was on her way to an elementary school eight blocks from her dorm to observe students on Oct. 4, 1973. Frustrated as she waited for a bus, she stuck out her thumb.

"Stupid," she says.

Wallshleger pulled up in his blue Dodge Dart. He drove her toward the school.

"I told him where to pull over and he pulled over," the woman recalled. "As I got out of the car, he pulled a gun on me.

"He handcuffed me and started driving immediately," she said. "And when we got to the corner of [Massachusetts] and Wisconsin [avenues], I used my foot and rolled the window down and started screaming. Then he put the gun to my head. Then he taped my eyes, and after that I thought I was going to die."

The Post generally withholds the names of victims of sexual assault. In this case, as with the other, her account was confirmed by court records and statements made at trial by Wallshleger's attorneys, who argued that he was criminally insane at the time of the crimes.

The Potomac woman knows what happened to the victim who is now 53. She said her own attack was not as bad. He didn't put her in his trunk. He didn't chain her by the neck in his basement, didn't hit her with a riding crop.

And after he raped her, he offered to make her lunch.

"That was so weird," the victim recalled.

Her theory, which was echoed in a long-ago psychological evaluation of Wallshleger: He wanted to increase the humiliation he could impose on his next victim.

"I don't think he got the satisfaction that he was looking for from me," she said.

She and the 53-year-old victim have never met. But they might.

Montgomery County prosecutor Eric Nee recently told the Potomac woman about Wallshleger's next parole hearing, scheduled for 2014. The Potomac woman wants to go to the hearing - if only to support the other victim.

She also opposes Wallshleger being released. She remembers 37 years ago when, she said, Wallshleger walked into a courtroom with a Bible in his hand and a smirk on his face. He looked at her legs when she went to testify, she said.

"I do believe people can be rehabilitated. I do believe people can change," she said. "I don't think he can."

READ: More related documents.

This is a transcript of 1974 from Wallshleger's first victim. He kidnapped the woman, then 19, on Oct. 4, 1973, while she was hitch-hiking in the District, and raped her at a farm in Northern Virginia.

1974testimony1


By Dan Morse  | February 24, 2011; 10:50 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse, Montgomery, Sex Crimes  
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Next: Post reporter on meeting a rapist

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