The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 5, 2013

Rape case, Internet postings about parties rattle Steubenville, grabs national attention

COLUMBUS — Recent Internet postings may have flamed national media attention in a 5-month-old case of alleged rape involving Steubenville High School football players, but they haven’t really added anything to the case, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Friday.

Mr. DeWine’s office is leading the prosecution after the local prosecutor and judge recused themselves. The alleged rape of an inebriated 16-year-old girl by two football players amid reveling on the night of Aug. 11 has divided the high school football-enthralled struggling former steel town over whether the two accused players are receiving special treatment.

Hundreds braved the cold to protest last weekend at the Jefferson County Courthouse where the two teenage boys are expected to be tried as juveniles next month. At least one other rally, organized via Internet social media, is expected today.

The case has drawn public outrage not just for what allegedly occurred at the alcohol-fueled parties but also because others present at the parties took photographs or videos and commented or joked about them on social media sites without intervening.

“What’s really sad is the victim continues to be victimized by postings on the Internet, the sharing of pictures,” Mr. DeWine said. “What this young man said in that 12-minute video that resurfaced yesterday and was reposted someplace is despicable. If that were my daughter, how would I feel about it? Any rape case is tragic, sad. In this one, the victim continues to be victimized.”

That video depicts a young man, who is not one of those charged, joking about what occurred that night. Its release and the attention it has garnered prompted a lawyer for one of the accused teens to take to CNN to question whether his client can get a fair trial.

Mr. DeWine said his office was already aware of the video.

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