Craig Eisele on …..

January 12, 2013

The Disgrace of Steubenville Ohio in a Child Rape Case

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 10:25 pm
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Officials in Steubenville, Ohio, have launched a website entitled “Steubenville Facts” in response to the national attention the town is getting following the alleged rape of a 16 year-old girl by two high school football players last August.

The site launched on Saturday, the same day as a protest rally organized by the internet hacktivist group Anonymous that drew nearly 2,000 people to the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The controversy stems from incidents that took place at a series of parties in and around Steubenville, a town of 180,000, on the night of August 11-12. Through twitter posts, videos and photographs from the night, it emerged that a 16-year-old-girl, who is alleged to have been unconscious, was apparently dragged around these parties by a group of Steubenville High football team members and allegedly sexually assaulted as others watched

It is this collection of photos, video and twitter posts which the girl’s parents took to the police station 3 days later. According to the girl’s statement to the police, she was unaware of what had happened to her during that night. The police claim that in the space of those few days, too much time had elapsed to conduct a toxicology test to determine if she had been drugged.

Two 16-year-old sophomores, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond—said to be star players on Steubenville High’s celebrated football team—are both awaiting trial on rape charges in connection to the incident, though charges of kidnapping have been dropped. Both deny the allegations.

While local media published a report on the incident after the boys were arrested, it began gathering steam after a former Steubenville resident and crime blogger named Alexandria Goddard picked up the story, including claims that the police and local officials had dragged their feet on the investigation, and that the school had not adequately disciplined the players involved. An Anonymous-related group called Knight Sec and a Wikileaks-style offshoot, Local Leaks, have both agitated for greater transparency in the case.

Following an in-depth feature on the Steubenville case in the New York Times in mid-December, Knight Sec “took up the cause” to unravel what they call a “conspiracy of silence designed to protect a group of high school football players who had become well known to their fellow students as ‘The Rape Crew’.”

Knight Sec then hacked a fan website for the Steubenville High School Big Red football team and the email account of the booster who ran it, demanding a public apology to the victim and threatening to release personal information of those who did not comply. Early in January, they released a 12-minute video of a former Steubenville student, drunkenly talking and laughing about a passed out girl, including remarks such as: “She is so raped right now.” (That student matriculated at Ohio State University, which recently said the person in the video no longer attends their school.)

The move by Steubenville authorities to set up their own website is the latest attempt to counter the claims made by the hacking group. The page includes a timeline of events, notes on the law and clarifications about the perceived lack of transparency in the case, including refutations of the accusations that several involved in the case had conflicts of interest. In an apparent reference to the leaked video, it states:

“Nothing in Ohio’s criminal statutes makes it a crime for someone to ridicule a rape victim on a video or otherwise say horrible things about another person. Further, nothing in the law allows someone who says repugnant things on Twitter, Facebook, or other Internet sites to be criminally charged for such statements. Steubenville Police investigators are caring humans who recoil and are repulsed by many of the things they observe during an investigation. Like detectives in every part of America and the world, they are often frustrated when they emotionally want to hold people accountable for certain detestable behavior but realize that there is no statute that allows a criminal charge to be made.”

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin recused herself from the case early on because she knew some of the juveniles involved; others have strongly denied the claims made by Knight Sec and the New York Times. Referring to the website, Cathy Davison, the manager of Steubenville City, told the AP: “When people are saying that our police department did not follow procedure, that the football team runs the city, that is not the case.”

The attorney for one of the defendants told CNN on Sunday that they might request for the trial to be moved, or closed to the public, given the publicity the case has received. The defendants are set to stand trial before a visiting judge at a Steubenville juvenile court on Feb. 13, as the local judge has also recused himself because of a conflict of interest.

Kudos for the residents of Steubenville for standing up to authorities and “HIGH SCHOOL” loyalties that demean the girl…. this is a disgrace

11/25/2013 UPDATE: 

When a grand jury investigating the 2012 Steubenville rape case handed up its first indictments back in October, they amounted to an announcement in capital letters that Attorney General Mike DeWine suspects several adults tried to cover up the grisly rape of a high school girl by two Steubenville High football players.  William Rhinaman, the school system’s IT chief, was indicted on charges that he obstructed the investigation almost from the time it started and lied to the grand jury.  Given that Rhinaman is such a small fish who had no reason to risk his career and his freedom by taking part in such a ghastly cover-up, the question was obvious–when would a bigger fish get perp-walked?

Well today, we learned that the stench from this case goes all the way to the top–literally.  The city’s superintendent of schools was indicted on charges that strongly indicate he was complicit in the cover-up.  He was one of four adults indicted by the grand jury today.

Steubenville Superintendent Michael McVey, 50, faces the most serious charges, including felony charges of obstructing justice charge and tampering with evidence as well as related misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business and falsification. If convicted, DeWine’s office said he could face more than five years in prison.
[snip]
Messages to the district offices were not immediately returned and no statement was released. A local television station reported that the Steubenville School Board would hold an emergency meeting Monday to address the charges. Calls to home or cell phone numbers for each of adults indicted were not returned as of late Monday.In addition, Matthew Belardine, a  former volunteer assistant football coach, is charged with misdemeanor charges of allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making false statements to investigators and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Belardine was the adult who broke up the first party where the 16-year-old victim and her two assailants were drinking.

During the March trial after which Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were convicted, several students testified about him breaking up the party but said they were didn’t know if he was aware of the drinking or if he was home during the party.

If convicted, Belardine faces more than a year in prison.

Others indicted include Seth Fluharty, a wresting coach and special education teacher and Lynett Gorman, who is listed as an elementary school principal in the district. They are both charged with not reporting suspected child abuse or neglect and, if convicted, face up to 30 days in jail. Gorman’s charges specifically are related to the April 2012 reported sexual assault. Under Ohio law, teachers and school officials are considered “mandatory reporters” of suspected child abuse and neglect. That would include reported sexual assaults.

Those who were indicted have been served, DeWine said, and are expected in court next month.

Read the indictment against McVey here, the indictment against Belardine here, the indictment against Fluharty here and the indictment against Gorman here.  The charges against McVey, however, are the most staggering.  Apparently McVey, like Rhinaman, hindered the investigation as late as last week.If convicted, McVey could be in custody for far longer than the two convicted rapists.  By comparison, Malik Richmond will serve at least two years in a youth facility, while Trenton Mays will serve at least one year–though they could both be held until they turn 21.  DeWine said that with these indictments, “the grand jury has demanded accountability” for any adults involved in the cover-up. To put it mildly, that’s an understatement.

While a lot of people thought football coach Reno Saccoccia would be indicted today, the indictment of McVey is an even bigger development.  It’s hard to comprehend how a superintendent of schools could be so callous as to cover up a rape.  This development, to my mind, takes the Steubenville case to the level of the Penn State affair, if only because McVey’s role looks analogous to that of Graham Spanier.

UPDATE 2 : DeWine said in his prepared remarks that the grand jury is likely done unless new evidence comes up.  Given that ten times out of ten, Rhinaman and McVey are probably going to start dropping dimes on Saccoccia very soon if they aren’t already, that new evidence may be in the offing very soon.

NewsFeed

Officials in Steubenville, Ohio, have launched a website entitled “Steubenville Facts” in response to the national attention the town is getting following the alleged rape of a 16 year-old girl by two high school football players last August.

The site launched on Saturday, the same day as a protest rally organized by the internet hacktivist group Anonymous that drew nearly 2,000 people to the Jefferson County Courthouse.

(Viewpoint: Don’t Rush To Judge on Steubenville)

The controversy stems from incidents that took place at a series of parties in and around Steubenville, a town of 180,000, on the night of August 11-12. Through twitter posts, videos and photographs from the night, it emerged that a 16-year-old-girl, who is alleged to have been unconscious, was apparently dragged around these parties by a group of Steubenville High football team members and allegedly sexually assaulted as others watched.

It is this collection…

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