Man who was trapped in box, raped as a boy returns to scene of crime; upset over bill to end civil commitment of some Va. sex offenders

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A 13-year-old Portsmouth boy was abducted and raped and kept in an underground box for days in 1973.

Martin Andrews revisited the scene of the crime with 10 On Your Side and shared his concerns that a law he inspired could be overturned, boxing out all those sexual assault victims benefited by Virginia’s Civil Commitment law. 

For eight days in 1973, Andrews was sexually assaulted in that underground box. 

“It’s not an easy place to get to anymore,” Andrews says.

Since age 13, Andrews has never been in an easy place.

“It’s like walking back in time,” he said as he continued on a 30-minute, mile-and-a-half trek back into tick-infested woods along Jackson Road in Suffolk. 

“I was really out in the middle of nowhere.” 

And Andrews was with a monster.

Andrews finds his way to this neck of the woods, and walks up a hill and then he knows he’s at the spot.  

“This way. This way. Here it is … it was right here. A rusted old top, and then down here was a chamber and he said it was a deer box … and I’ll never forget it when I got down in there, and he said ‘I got bad news for you; you’ve just been kidnapped.'”

The man who said that was Richard Ausley. He convinced young Martin to get into Ausley’s van to help him move furniture.

“My blood runs cold. All I could think was how do I get out of here.” 

And over the years there were other victims too. 

BELOW: WAVY Archive: Gary Founds exclusive interview about his sexual assault by Richard Ausley

Martin says he agreed to get in the van, which was in his neighborhood near Arlington Place. 

The man wanted help moving furniture and taking groceries to his brother’s deer box and seemed nice enough.  

“Seeing the box out there, I was hoping this guy is telling the truth,” Andrews said. “Here is a deer box, and the brother’s house must be around here. I’m feeling good, all my fears were for naught. We are going to get our furniture and we are going to go home, and everything is great.” 

But once Andrews gets down in the box, he got a terrifying surprise when Ausley announces he’s been kidnapped.  

“Ausley stripped me almost immediately and said, ‘you are not going to have to like this, but we are going to do it anyway.’ He then raped me the first of four times that day.” 

10 On Your Side interviewed Ausley in 2002. We asked him as he sat in jail whether there were sexual acts. He at first refused to answer and then said, “I can’t comment.” 

When asked again he answered “yes, there was.”

Ausley would come and go, tying up young Martin to make sure he did not leave.

Martin Andrews in shackles in the box.

“I was tied with wire, he tied my feet, and he tide my hands behind my back.” 

On the 8th day Ausley was gone, and Martin heard a truck in the distance. He started screaming and cried for help. 

A man out hunting, Lewis Sweezy, appeared. 

“We parked our trucks, Sweezy said. “We could hear a young person crying, lifting the trap door, and yelling at the same time,” Sweezy remembers. 

Sweezy then comes face-to-face with Andrews, whose haunting eyes are stunning in color and black-and-white photos taken by police. In one of the pictures Martin is shackled with a chain. He could not escape. 

“That picture tells a lot about what I had been through,” Andrews said. The blackened eyes, and broken nose … he stole my youth and soul. He stole my innocence. He stole a lot from me … damage done to my soul emptiness in my eyes … the boy that came home was not the boy who left that day.” 

Ausley would get a 25-year sentence. Shockingly, he thought he was the victim, and that Martin wanted to be with him. Ausley shared that in the jailhouse interview, 

“My life was over. Marty saw to that. I will be his victim for the rest of my life or his.” 

BELOW: WAVY’s jailhouse interview with Richard Ausley in 2003

Andrews remembers that statement.

“It was so unbelievable. It’s my fault? That the only thing he did wrong were the things I asked him to do? The things I asked him to do were all my ideas. I wanted to go with him, I had to get away from my house,” Martin says facetiously.  

Then word came Ausley was getting out of prison.   

“When I heard that, 30 years later, that Ausley was getting out, I said this can’t happen again.” 

BELOW: WAVY interviews convicted sexual predator Richard Ausley in 2003

BELOW: WAVY interviews Martin Andrews in 2002

Martin, who lived in the hell for 8 days, summed it up this way.

So, the boy in the box became an advocate in Richmond, lobbying state leaders to get the Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act passed.

“I fought and fought and fought to get civil commitment passed,” Martin said.

The law allows Virginia to hold extreme sexual predators like Ausley at psychiatric facilities after they’ve served their criminal sentences.

“It is bizarre, it is absurd, it is patently, in my opinion, unconstitutional,” says State Senator Joe Morrissey, who is now trying to overturn the Civil Commitment Law. 

During his interview, Andrews looked into the camera with this message to Morrissey: “Senator, this is not something you should be doing.” 

In response, Morrissey said: “What Martin is saying by keeping Ausley and others like him in there is that we are not satisfied with that first sentence, and we are going to throw double jeopardy out the window.” 

Double jeopardy is being tried twice for the same crime. 

Morrissey says that Ausley, who ending up being killed in prison before his release, would have done his time for the crime.   

“Now we are giving him more time,” Morrissey said.

“It is a draw back to the 13th century, when you lock people up because of what they might do. It is horrific in every sense of the word.”   

Morrissey’s bill to do away with civil commitment was unanimously killed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Morrissey says he will resubmit the bill in January.

When we pointed out to the senator that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of civil commitment, the often-outspoken Senator Morrissey quickly and confidently said, “Well, the U.S. Supreme Court is wrong.”

Over 400 men are now in civil commitment at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation. 

Martin continues, “Opening that door and letting those men out of there is unthinkable … if you open that door, you are responsible for all that hurt. You are responsible for all that pain. It just can’t happen.”

We read that statement to Morrissey who responded into the camera:  “You know, I will accept that Martin because it is the right thing to do. It is not right to lock people up on what they might do … he calls it good, but [it is not] because society after locking a person up for a long period of time then re-incarcerates them without due process, and it is done without due process … I’m one of those that respects other peoples’ opinions. I respect Martin’s opinion, I just vehemently disagree with it.” 

The Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act is a process that does include in the end a judge, and in some cases a jury, to make the final determination if the incarcerated person is no longer a threat.  

Meanwhile, Martin found Jesus during this process. 

“God helped me to heal and helped give me purpose. The reason that God saved me from this hole. The reason he sent four hunters back into that spot of woods in the middle of nowhere. He did that so I could come back and help other children, and Joe is just going to wipe it away.” 

Morrissey counters, “it is wrong. It is unseemly. It is unwarranted, un-Christian, it is unconstitutional. I find it with the Martins of the world that they don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It offends every notion of fairness.”

“Evil is not good. God has turned this evil to good, and what [Sen. Morrissey] is going to do is take away everything that was redeeming about what happened out here.”   

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