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Correction to This Article
The article incorrectly said that Levy was from the congressional office of then-Rep. Gary A. Condit (D-Calif.). Levy was from Condit's congressional district and worked as an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Clarification to This Article

In 'Condit Country,' Wounds Are Reopened

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A grand jury in the nation's capital has been convened to consider charges against the Salvadoran immigrant suspected in the death of former congressional intern Chandra Levy. Video by AP

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By Karl Vick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 23, 2009

CERES, Calif., Feb. 22 -- In this farm town named for a Roman goddess, Sunday mornings would find Gary Condit in the Village Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, listening to his father's sermons, shaking the hands of fellow worshipers and generally accumulating the reputation that flew to pieces in just days after an intern from his congressional office vanished on an spring day in 2001.

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More than seven years after Chandra Levy's body was found, and six years after Condit lost his reelection bid in a campaign shadowed by reports of a sexual relationship with the intern, D.C. police are seeking an arrest warrant for a Salvadoran immigrant in the case, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.

"We don't know yet how this is going to turn out, so I don't want to make a statement," said the Rev. Adrian Condit, offering a reporter a gentle handshake as he made his way across the church parking lot to his white Ford F-150.

"If I was going to give you something," he added with a significant look, "I'd say I wish they'd done this a long time ago."

In "Condit Country," as the midsection of the Central Valley came to be known over the 14 years during which the minister's son represented it in Congress, the scandal clings to the name even as the details recede. The headline in Sunday's Modesto Bee was huge: "Arrest in Levy case imminent, police say."

But in the years since the last big development in the Levy case, other missing women have taken her place in the cable news spotlight.

"I haven't given it a thought in a long time," said Tony Guidace, 45, a cabinetmaker having breakfast with his girlfriend at Bob's Coffee Shop, a block down Central Avenue from the church.

"And then all that with Scott Peterson kind of swept it all away," Michele Martinez, 36, said as the omelets arrived. The Laci Peterson case came out of Modesto, too. "That kind of put us on the map, sadly," Martinez said.

"All I can think about him," Guidace said of Gary Condit, "is he's a dirty old man."

The conservative Democrat consistently denied that his relationship with Levy was sexual, but with a guardedness that served to feed public suspicions, especially in the 13 months before her remains were found in Rock Creek Park.

"We were just talking about it today, and I said, 'I still think he's guilty,' " said Tony Borba, 36.

Of what?


CONTINUED     1           >

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