Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Government Comes Out Swinging in Rausch Rape Case

On Friday the 13th, prosecutors in D.C. filed four documents with the judge in Bill Rausch's ongoing sexual assault case.

The first was a motion to exclude evidence of the victim's sexual history. Why? Because they monitored closely the absurd actions of Rausch's lawyer during the protection order hearing last year. Rausch's strategy in that case was to "slut-shame" his former girlfriend. His lawyer - a woman, herself - asked the victim watch private sex videos she'd taped with Bill, in what appeared to be an attempt to intimidate her into dropping the case. Didn't work. And in the end, the judge in that case found that Bill had likely committed the crime of stalking, ordering him to take 22 sessions of domestic violence counseling, and pay the victim $1,813 - money she spent on a new security system after he came to her apartment. They don't want that ridiculousness to continue in this case.

The second motion asks the judge to allow them to use testimony from coworkers and friends of the victim. Immediately after the attempted rape, the victim told friends and coworkers about it. An investigation was conducted by Ray Group International. In fact, we now know that Bill lost his job because of this assault - they allowed him to resign before he could be fired.

Third, a motion to limit testimony involving this reporter. The defense wishes to suggest that Bill wouldn't be in trouble at all if I hadn't reported on his crimes, and that somehow I influenced the six separate women who have come forward claiming everything from sexual harassment to abuse. The prosecutors point out that the victim went to police the day after the assault, years before she met me. The prosecutors suggest that if my interactions with the victims becomes a focus of the defense, it would open the door to the Maura Murray case and prosecutors would be free to discuss Bill's involvement in that case.

Finally, the prosecutors revealed their intention to bring up Bill's other crimes at trial, specifically the time he pushed the victim down the escalator on the Metro. They state they have evidence that such a crime occurred and that it provides background that further explains his actions the night of the alleged sexual assault.

To summarize - the state is anxious to take on Bill at trial.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Trial

Note: This hearing for a civil protection order against Bill Rausch occurred in DC Superior Court on Wed., Nov 20 - Fri., Nov 22. 2019. In American civil cases, the trial portion is simply referred to as a "hearing" or "proceeding," though they feature witnesses, attorney's questioning and cross-examinations, a judge, and witnesses can be charged with perjury if they are found to be untruthful.

I ordered the transcripts following the trial, paid for them, and received them yesterday. I have since been informed by the victim's attorney, that the transcripts were sealed. Out of respect for the victim and the court, I will not be posting the full transcripts or screen shots of the pages. The hearings were open to the public. Essentially, they confirm what people present in the courtroom have already told me.

Background: The Victim in this case was in a relationship with Bill Rausch for several years, during which time Bill was married. Bill was Maura Murray's boyfriend at the time she was missing. The Victim sought a civil protection order from Bill after years of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. He is currently facing felony sex abuse charges related to an alleged attack against another woman in D.C.

DAY 1:
It is clear the judge in this case, Neal Kravitz, expected this CPO to be a relatively short matter. It lasted three days.

Bill arrived with one witness, a spokesperson for the Maura Murray family named Erinn Larkin. She provided emails and texts between herself and the victim to either Bill or directly to Bill's lawyer and they intended to use her to poke holes in the victim's story. She sat with Bill and his family in the hall, within view of the victim. Bill had introduced the victim to Erinn and the victim believed Erinn was her friend until she caught Erinn secretly recording her at a bar. Ultimately, Erinn was never called. As a witness she was not supposed to be in court during the rest of the trial, so the first order of business was asking her to leave the courtroom.

Opening statements were heard. "The court will learn that [Bill's] abuse of [the victim] began within days after they started dating and that [the victim] endured years of emotional and physical violence." Bill would choke and hit her without her consent, the victim's lawyer said. And Bill "would also refer to [the victim] during sex as Maura, the name of his ex-girlfriend who went missing in 2004."

"He would say, Maura you're a bitch, you're a whore, you're a cunt."

One one occasion, he backhanded the victim so hard she chipped a tooth. He would hit her and then ask her to send him pictures of the bruises. He stalked the victim after she broke up with him, the lawyer said, leaving over 100 social media messages. He sent her flowers and a Mac Book. He came to her home, unannounced, and slipped a note under the door. The victim was so frightened of Bill she stayed at a safe location for six weeks and had a security system installed.

In her opening, Bill's lawyer claims the victim was really just mad at Bill for not making their relationship public on social media.

After this, the victim takes the stand. Her attorney questions her under oath. The victim spoke in detail after the hitting and choking she endured during their relationship. She showed the court her chipped tooth. She talked about being frightened when he called her Maura during these moments of violence. She read from the note he left in her door. Here's a snippet from the note:

"I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused. You don't have to worry about it ever happening again. I'm going to fix everything. You're the most amazing woman I've ever known. Goodbye. I love you."

After he came to her house, she texted a friend and told her she thought his stalking would only end one way. "I was terrified I was, he would use violence against me that would end my life." She goes on to say, "In late September, early October I contacted a journalist who writes about the Maura Murray case (me) and I asked to speak with him because I wanted him to know part of what was goin on, that I was being stalked, because I... I... I thought I was going to go missing and I wanted somebody else to know."

The victim filed a report with the DC police. While she was filling out the forms, she started getting notifications that someone using Bill's mother's Facebook account was liking all her photos on social media. She viewed that as intimidation.

"Is there anything else that led you to be afraid of Bill?" he attorney asked.

"Yes, I mean the fact that he was indicted for sexual abuse and the fact that he has a missing girlfriend."

DAY 2:
On the second day of trial, the victim was cross-examined by Bill's attorney. Her questions to the victim suggested Bill believed the reason she broke up with him was not the violence but because he hadn't made their relationship Facebook official and that Bill's mother was still posting pictures of Bill's wife on Facebook.

At this point, it's revealed that Bill has a recorded telephone call between himself and the victim that occurred after the breakup. This will pop up that day and the next and ultimately Bill claims that he accidentally recorded her, though the defense points out he called her via an app on his phone that is only made to record conversations, and that he would know better because he was, at the time, in charge of a propaganda campaign for the US Army in which he was tasked with using social media apps to record and monitor posts by enemies of the state.

Next, Bill's lawyer tries to introduce WhatsApp conversations between her and Erinn Larkin. WhatsApp is an app some people use for secure conversations - it's easier to subpoena info from Gmail and texts. These conversations were provided to the the attorney by Erinn in order to bolster Bill's defense.

Bill's lawyer then goes on to suggest the real reason the victim contacted me and the police was because Bill had posted a picture of himself with his daughter for International Daughter's Day. The victim said that's absurd.

Here it comes out that Erinn has told Bill and his attorneys that, at one time, the victim had talked to Erinn about taking out a restraining order against me because I had called her for comment after she ended up in an E.R. with a head wound on Valentine's Day with Bill. The victim, under oath, said the talk about a restraining order never happened, that if that's what Erinn said, she was lying.

The victim's attorney then redirects. The victim talks about how Bill came to her in 2018 asking to date her again and promising not to hit her again.

The victim then produces a text she sent to Erinn saying she felt unsafe around Bill. Erinn has said publicly that the victim never told her she was afraid of Bill.

Next they discuss how Bill sent her an email after the temporary protection order was in place. It included photos of the two of them together. He told his attorneys that he did it on accident, that he meant to just forward it to them. But the victim saw it as more intimidation.

At this point Bill's lawyer attempts to get the case thrown out due to lack of evidence. The judge wasn't having it, though. So she called Bill to the stand.

They get to Maura Murray quickly. On the stand, under oath, the attorney asks Bill if he was ever a suspect in Maura's disappearance. He says no. Now, for the record, this is untrue and Bill knows that, if only for the fact that the first thing that happened when he went to New Hampshire, was that he was interrogated by police detectives.

What happens next is not for public consumption. It's a detailed public airing of their sexual history and proclivities. It will get worse on Day 3. But the things that were aired in court in presence of the victim are beyond the pale. The fact that the victim had the fortitude to return for Day 3 is a testament to her strength or maybe just the fear she had for Bill to see it through.

At this point, what comes out is that, when Bill was returning to the states from East Africa earlier this year - while he was under indictment for sex abuse in DC, with a warrant out for his arrest - he began to delete emails and messages that might be found under subpoena, a possible criminal offense, if true. But he didn't delete everything. He kept a sex tape.

On the third day, Bill's lawyer asks the victim to watch the sex tape in court. Her reasoning was that the victim sometimes enjoyed rough sex (as do millions of people), the suggestion being the hitting that left bruises was somehow always consensual. As an aside, I have covered court cases for fifteen years now. I have never heard of anything like this. As a human being, I'm not sure how to view this as anything other than an attempt to shame the victim. Lesser people would have dropped the case then in order for the tape never to be shown. But the victim didn't blink.

Then Bill is asked again about deleting messages while under indictment. "And the concern was that when he got back to the states his phone might be seized," the attorney said "And then the Government in the course of the third degree sex abuse allegation might be like investigating his materials, right?"

Things wrapped up quickly after that.

Here's what the judge had to say when he found Bill guilty of stalking and granted the protection order. "I don't view this as a close case." He said any reasonable person would be afraid of Bill after the way he acted. He says Bill may well be a narcissist. In his letters, he talks about how much he misses the victim but he never asks how the victim is doing. "Anyone looking at this objectively, and not just from his own interests, would have known that that level of contact or even one percent of it, would have caused a reasonable person in the petitioner's circumstances, as he knew it better than anyone else, to suffer significant emotional distress and harm. And that's exactly what happened."

"There is good cause to believe that Mr. Rausch committed the crime of stalking."

Bill was ordered to pay the victim $1,813, the amount she spent for a new security system.

The judge ordered that Bill attend 22 sessions of domestic violence counseling. When his lawyer objected, the judge said, "I think he needs it. I think his lack of awareness is to me striking."

Finally, Bill's lawyer asks the victim to return some items that Bill had given her, "personal items, clothing, maybe a clock or something..."

The judge it seems didn't know the importance of that clock. It never came out in court. The clock was a gift Bill gave to the victim. It had a secret camera in it. He asked her to use it to record her having sex. She never did.

Here is the timeline of contacts Bill attempted to make with the victim after she asked to be left alone. While she was going over this with a police detective, someone using Sharon Rausch's (Bill's mother) Facebook account liked all of her photos, a way to send direct notifications to her cell phone. She viewed this as further intimidation:

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Victim Wins Civil Protection Order Against Bill Rausch, DC Responds!

Yesterday, Bill Rausch's former girlfriend was granted a civil protection order against him after three days of trial. She claims years of abuse, including incidents where he choked her and called her "Maura," hit her so hard she chipped a tooth, and an assault that took place at a military base in Germany. He is likely to face additional criminal charges related to these allegations.

After the verdict, several members of the Veterans community in D.C. have finally broken their silence.

Kate Hoit, a former coworker of Rausch's, took to twitter with her reaction:

 Kristofer Goldsmith, Founder of High Ground Vets, weighed in too:

As did Matthew Fecteau, who worked beside Bill at Camp Lemonnier:

So far six women have come forward, alleging everything from harassment to sex assault and attempted rape. Finally, they're being heard. Thank you.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019

Another Woman Comes Forward Alleging Years of Abuse by Bill Rausch and Strange Attacks Where He Used Maura Murray’s Name.

The morning of Bill Rausch’s latest hearing in DC Superior Court on a charge of felony sex abuse, another woman filed a report with Metro police detectives, claiming she was sexually and physically abused by Rausch for years and that she was being stalked by him as recently as this summer. Police are investigating and are attempting to serve him with a restraining order. The allegations are the most violent I’ve heard so far and could lead to further charges.

Here's what is alleged:

- Their relationship began when she worked under Bill Rausch at a DC office. The inappropriate behavior began with sexually-charged gchat messages. Bill asked her to stay in the office after work. He invited her into his personal office and closed the door behind her. He threw her up against the wall hard and began to kiss her. Afterward, Bill walked her to her desk and then deleted their gchat messages and said, this never happened.

- Later, Bill began to hit her, sometimes leaving big bruises. Once he backhanded her so hard he chipped her tooth. He asked her to send him pictures of the bruises.

- On two occasions he choked her and called her Maura, the name of his girlfriend who went missing in 2004. He’d call her Maura and say, “You’re a bitch. You’re a whore. You’re a cunt.” After these expressions of violence, he would shower her with affection, buying her gifts, taking her to expensive restaurants. And he would promise not to hit her again. But he could never keep his promise.

- On Valentine’s Day, 2018, Bill tossed her into the air in her apartment. The woman’s head hit a light, resulting in a large gash which spilled blood everywhere. Bill called 9/11. Bill insisted on riding with her in the ambulance to the hospital and would not leave when she spoke to doctors and nurses. When she got the stitches out, he insisted on coming with her, too. He told the nurse to make him her emergency contact.

- Some of these assaults took place at an overseas military base while Bill was deployed, which could result in charges through military court channels.

- The victim officially broke off her relationship with Bill on March 6 of this year, when Bill was still deployed in East Africa. He did not accept no for an answer and began a campaign of stalking and harassment, which she documented thoroughly. Hundreds of phone calls, texts, messages on social media, liking/unliking posts, and when that didn't work he showed up at her apartment and sent flowers and laptops.

These are broad strokes of the allegations. These stories (the choking, calling her Maura) echo the stories I’ve been told by his other alleged victims and a pattern of behavior is becoming clear. This victim appears to have solid footing in the way of documents, texts, emails, and photographs.

A court hearing is taking place today in DC to address a restraining order against Rausch.

An additional allegation came out last week from a credible source close to Rausch: Bill used fake social media accounts to steer the narrative of the Maura Murray investigation online and to harass civilian journalists while deployed in East Africa. His job there, by the way, was using Twitter to monitor enemies of the state. Using that software and hardware on Americans is a kind of a big deal. Read that story here.

UPDATE: Rausch has been served with the protection order.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Bill Rausch Has Used Social Media Accounts to Steer the Narrative in the Maura Murray Investigation Online Since She Went Missing

Following new allegations of sexual assault in D.C., I’ve learned that Bill Rausch created several social media accounts which he used to steer the Maura Murray investigation online and to harass and dox journalists who write about his abuse allegations.

A source close to Rausch was copied on emails in which Bill discussed the creation of fake twitter accounts he used to dox me while deployed at Camp Lemonnier in East Africa where he was in charge of monitoring social media profiles of enemies of the state.

More alarming than the personal attacks is what Rausch has allegedly done with one profile on Reddit. Using the name, DS_Joe_Friday, Rausch commented on various posts about his girlfriend Maura’s disappearance, at times trying to shape a narrative to explain away her disappearance.

On a post by user json32m, titled The Boyfriend Theory, in which a Redditor lists the obsessive phone calls Bill was making to Maura in the days leading up to her disappearance, Rausch writes:

He repeatedly says the Grand Jury that investigated Rausch’s first sex assault case did not exist and was a deliberate fabrication while he knew his former business had been subpoenaed for records.

Under the fake name, he suggests a reason that Maura may have fled UMass that had nothing to do with an obsessive boyfriend or family issues:

He admits to commenting under aliases on forums about Maura since the time of her disappearance:

At times, he belittles himself in order to discount theories that he had anything to do with her disappearance:

He tried desperately to become a moderator on Reddit’s Maura Murray sub in order to limit discussion:

He accuses me of murdering Maura:

It’s possible that Bill’s mother was doing this as well:

I am still combing through other forums for comments made by JoeFriday, in light of this information.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Porchlight Project Begins!

This last year, I’ve been working hard to put together a new non-profit that can provide financial help and media attention to the families of the missing and murdered, focusing on cold cases in Ohio. I’m excited to announce that The Porchlight Project is here and our first case is the 1987 unsolved murder of Barbara Blatnik.

The board members of The Porchlight Project include former police chiefs, private investigators, journalists, lawyers, and podcasters. We’ll be working together to bring closure to a handful of cases this year. Please visit our website and consider a donation today.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Bill Rausch Returns to Court

Bill Rausch appeared in DC Superior Court today for a hearing related to a charge of felony sex abuse. He stands accused of attempting to rape a coworker in the office of Ray Group International, in 2011. Since the victim shared her story, other women have come forward alleging behavior from harassment to assault dating back to 2004, the year Maura Murray, Bill's girlfriend, went missing.

Rausch arrived ten minutes before 11 and sat quietly in the front row, eyes forward, until the judge returned to his bench. He was alone. No friends, no family, no coworkers in his corner. Rausch's lawyer argued that the prosecutor should allow Rausch to review Grand Jury statements. The government is concerned that if Rausch is given the chance to copy or download the documents, he may distribute them. Grand Jury statements are secret for a good reason - to protect witnesses.

And the prosecutors in this case should be concerned about this. Rausch loves to share information he digs up on people. He did opposition research on me, a journalist covering the disappearance of his girlfriend. In fact, I believe he passed such information to people who were harassing me at that time. Rausch was also suspended by Twitter for posting my personal phone number in an attempt to dox me while he was serving as head of a propaganda campaign for the US Army. All very odd and alarming behavior.

Later, the government said it would consider a plea deal but that no deal has yet been offered. The judge said they should either work out a deal or prepare for trial before the next court date in early October.

Adding to the drama of the day, I was served with a subpoena while having lunch around the corner from the courthouse. Rausch wants access to my interviews and notes in the Maura’s Murray files and the names of the people who contacted me about his sex assaults and harassment. He will, of course, not be getting that info. More to come.

Here is a recent podcast that discusses Bill's strange behavior following Maura's disappearance. One note: Kate M did not date a professor at West Point.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

**UPDATED** Persistant Rumor: Maura Murray Was Spotted in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

About a year ago, several people noticed a woman that looked like Maura Murray in a clip posted to YouTube. The video shows a woman and her daughter during a kind of prank that happened outside a preview screening for The Force Awakens in 2015. Here are some screen caps. Click here to see more.

I have not posted about this because I kept expecting it to be debunked, but it has not been and the rumor persists that this may be Maura with a child. Tracing back the origin of this clip takes you to Reddit, where it was originally posted by "KayPeaches09," who then deleted their profile. The timing, coming as a grand jury began its investigation into Bill Rausch, was curious. As one Redditor notes:

If the footage of the woman resembling Maura was shot at a preview for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maura (if living) would have been 33 at the time and if pregnant around the time she went missing her child would have been around 11. This does seem to match the ages of the woman and child we see in the video.

As to the timing of the release of this video...Bill's name has been coming up online as of late with the idea that he might have done harm to Maura. If Maura were alive, perhaps she would feel bad about Bill's name being linked to her presumed demise (or someone who knows her feels that way), and thus the video has been pointed out to us as "proof" of Bill's innocence.

Btw, kaypeaches09, the person who posted this here only a few days ago has deleted his or her account.

The original video has since been deleted from YouTube.

Hopefully the woman in this video sees this post and comes forward to debunk this theory.

Someone found the video!
The woman appears at 1:20 in.