Keywords: Women

The Seduction of Peter Jay Rudge

Rolling Stone MAGAZINE

Sullivan, Randall; Jan 01 1993
IssueJan 01 1993
Type of WorkReport

When a thirteen-year-old boy disappeared...with his mother's forty-year-old [female] friend, the people of Portland thought it was murder. Then they thought it was something else.

More than a little contention was generated in both the [boy] Rudge and [woman] Walden households by the amount of time the two spent with each other.  It had become obvious that Diane liked Peter Jay a lot. 

Pete [the boy's father]: "I saw Diane as a big kid herself, someone who genuinely liked being with children...My kids were around someone with no boundaries: buy anything, eat anywhere, do anything.'' 

The one point on which both parents agreed was that the obsessive pattern of Peter's involvement with Diane had to be broken...

Thirty-nine nights passed without one word from either Diane or Peter. 

It was the fortieth day, ... when Francie answered her phone on the first ring and spoke to a .... sheriff's detective who told her that Peter Jay and Diane were alive and well in Atlantic City, ...where they had been taken into custody by police officers ....

"I am 100 percent sure there was nothing sexual,'' the detective said. ... Peter Rudge denied any sexual activity ... 

Peter Jay's personal therapist was a child psychiatrist, Teresa Shelby. ... During December, she twice asked Peter if there had been "sexual contact'' between him and Diane, Dr. Shelby said, and "each time he denied any touching.'' ... Peter did say, though, that Diane was in love with him.

... [Speaking with his second therapist Leo Munter and his father, Peter said:] "She would touch my penis, outside my clothing and inside,'' he said. "She would just kind of move it around. She would ask if it felt good.'' ... "I didn't know what to feel about what had happened.'' ... 

Peter remembered: "She said, whatever happened, I couldn't say that she and I had sexual contact, because she would face more time in jail. I said I wouldn't tell." 

[The trial:] A detective wrote in his notes ... that Peter and Diane engaged in sex "three or four times a day,'' rather than "three or four times a week,'' as the boy had testified in court. ...

Asked by her attorney about the allegations of sexual contact with the Rudge boy, Mrs. Walden turned to the jury as she answered, "No, never".  

[The verdict:] The jury hearing the case of 'State v. Walden needed only a day of deliberation to deliver a verdict local TV news broadcasts described as "startling'' and "shocking'': Diane was guilty of custodial interference in the first degree, a felony, but had been acquitted of having sexual intercourse with a minor, while the jurors were deadlocked on the charge of sexual touching. "A lot of the evidence was contrary to the young man's story.''