- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 15, 2005

RICHMOND (AP) — More than three decades ago, Paul Martin Andrews was the victim of a man who trapped him in an underground box and repeatedly raped him, leaving him to die.

Now he’s an advocate for legislation that allows for sex offenders to be institutionalized after finishing their prison sentences, and he was instrumental in getting the Virginia legislature to fund such a law.

Mr. Andrews believes God answered his prayers for deliverance in 1973, and is asking God to shed light on society’s responsibility to protect others from predators.

“Marty Andrews, that child Richard Ausley took 32 years ago — he died,” Mr. Andrews said, referring to his ordeal. “That little boy’s life was over with, and what came out of it was mine. It’s a good life, and I don’t want people to be sorry for me.”

Mr. Andrews said the journey from victim to advocate was difficult because he had to overcome problems common to sexual-abuse survivors, such as alcohol abuse and emotional alienation. But he somehow managed to put together his life.

In 2002, he was living in Miami when he learned that Ausley, his attacker, was to be released after 30 years in prison. Mr. Andrews knew that he had to attach a name to the boy in the box. Since then, he has emerged as a compelling advocate for civil-commitment laws in Virginia and elsewhere.

Mr. Andrews moved to Prince William County last spring, took a consulting job in Washington and dedicated himself to lobbying for laws aimed at protecting society from what he calls “the worst of the worst.”

His chief accomplishment is persuading the cash-strapped General Assembly in 2003 to fund the 1999 Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act, with Ausley as its emblem.

Mr. Andrews’ ordeal started when he was 13 and living in Portsmouth, Va. One day in January 1973, Ausley lured him into a van after promising to pay him for helping to move some furniture.

Ausley abducted the boy, buried him in an 8-foot-long box in the woods and repeatedly raped him during his captivity. After eight days, the boy managed to attract the attention of a pair of hunters, who called police.

In court, Mr. Andrews recalled, Ausley tried to make the captivity seem consensual, claiming that it was the boy’s idea. Afterward, Mr. Andrews’ family tried to help by getting him psychiatric care, but beyond that everyone seemed to avoid discussing the attack.

As a young adult, Mr. Andrews was devastated by the realization that he was homosexual, thinking that if people knew, they might think that he asked for what Ausley did to him. Even his partner of 25 years was unaware of the details until just before Mr. Andrews went public in 2002.

These days, Mr. Andrews is open about describing those terrifying days under Ausley’s control, saying that people need to know.

Last January, Ausley was killed in his cell, allegedly by a cellmate who had suffered childhood sexual abuse. Even with Ausley gone, the state soon identified many other civil-commitment candidates, men nearing the end of their sentences for violent sex crimes, those with multiple convictions or major prison-conduct infractions.

Virginia established a maximum-security treatment facility south of Petersburg that now holds a dozen former prisoners, including two who were the subjects of state Supreme Court appeals. All have gone through a court process aimed at institutionalizing those at highest risk to re-offend if returned to society.

The law is controversial, disliked by civil libertarians who say it aims to punish people for crimes they may never commit. But advocates, including Mr. Andrews, argue that many people who have long patterns of sexual violence, especially against children, cannot or will not change.

Ausley was such an offender. By 1973, he already had served time for one such abduction and assault. The day Ausley kidnapped Mr. Andrews, he was due in court on another molestation charge.

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