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DeWine could target coach, host of party in rape case



Published: Tue, March 19, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

COLUMBUS

The head football coach at Steubenville High School and the owners of a house where an infamous 12-minute video was filmed could be investigated as Ohio prosecutors look into how adults responded to allegations of rape last year.

One day after a judge convicted two high-school football players of raping the 16-year-old girl in August, Steubenville’s top official said she welcomed a new, wide-ranging probe into possible wrongdoing connected with the rape.

The announcement of the guilty verdict was barely an hour old Sunday when state Attorney General Mike DeWine said he was continuing his investigation and would consider charges against anyone who failed to speak up after the summertime attack. That group could include other teens, parents, school officials and coaches for the high school’s beloved football team, which has won nine state championships.

Authorities also said they won’t put up with people harassing the accuser and took action Monday to prove it, arresting two girls suspected of threatening her well-being in Facebook and Twitter comments Sunday. The Jefferson County girls, age 15 and 16, were being held in juvenile detention on allegations of aggravated menacing, Steubenville police Capt. Joel Walker said.

“These arrests, I hope, will end the harassment of the victim,” DeWine said. “We are simply not going to tolerate this. Enough is enough.”

The case brought international attention to the small city of 18,000 and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the Steubenville High School football team.

According to trial testimony, one of the two football players said the coach knew about what happened and “took care of it.”

The video, passed around widely online, depicted a student joking about the attack. “She is so raped right now,” the boy says.

Investigators interviewed the owners of a Steubenville house where the video was filmed, which also was the same place a photograph was taken of the girl being carried by her ankles and wrists, DeWine’s office confirmed Monday. That picture, Exhibit No. 1 at the trial, generated international outrage. There is no phone listing for the home.

Numerous students, including defendant Trent Mays, referred to the girl as “dead” in text messages the night of the attacks, apparently in reference to her unconscious state. The girl, who acknowledged drinking, testified she had no memory of the assaults.

A grand jury will meet in mid-April to consider evidence gathered by investigators from dozens of interviews, including with the football program’s 27 coaches, which include junior-high, freshman and volunteer coaches.

Text messages introduced at trial suggested the head coach was aware of the rape allegation early on. Reno Saccoccia “took care of it,” Mays said in one text introduced by prosecutors.

DeWine said coaches are among officials required by state law to report suspected child abuse. Saccoccia has not commented.

The case brought international attention to the small city of 18,000 and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the Steubenville High School football team.

Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison said residents want to see justice done, and the city will be better off going forward because of the wider investigation.

Special Judge Thomas Lipps recommended that Mays and co-defendant Ma’Lik Richmond be assigned to Lighthouse Youth Center-Paint Creek in Chillicothe. The Ohio Department of Youth Services contracts with the secure, residential center. Lipps said it had a strong program for treating juvenile sex offenders.


Comments

1Photoman(950 comments)posted 1 year ago

It will be quite some time before the fat lady sings in steubenville. The utterings of a coverup are somewhat reminiscent of the Jerry Sandusky situation.

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2busyman(239 comments)posted 1 year ago

I can understand the statement now " The dummying down of America" How studpid can these young people be when they used social media to send threats to the young girl in this case. They say stupidity runs down hill to the children. Must be a lot of briliant parents in that town.

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3endthismess(286 comments)posted 1 year ago

It all started with the owner's of the house where this booze fest party started... then comes the really dumb law breaking coaches...throw the book at all if these big stupid pos law breaking adults......then close down "Stupidville's" big dumb red football program for 5 years. Too much testostrone in this law breaking hell hole town...these male pigs need to be put out to pasture. Serious bunch of oinkers huh Big Red...really made a nice name for yourselves...nationally too. Kuddos Mr. DeWine!

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