“Our investigation is continuing,” he said. “We are not done. We do have charges filed and a trial date coming up. We are looking at other aspects of the case. … We treat things up on the Internet like we would something we got in an anonymous call. We evaluate it to see if there’s anything that needs to be run down. Some of the allegations aren’t really relevant to a criminal prosecution. It may be relevant to morality.”
“We remind people that we were brought into this case in August,” he said. “We have no ax to grind. We do special investigations across the state whenever there is a conflict or the prosecutor or police do not have the resources to do the investigation. We are taking the lead on the investigation, but we’re talking with Steubenville PD.”
Mr. DeWine’s office has appointed two associate assistant attorneys general to the case — Marianne Hemmeter and Brian Deckert. The trial, set to begin Feb. 13, has been assigned to Judge Thomas R. Lipps, a visiting judge from Hamilton County (home to Cincinnati) some 250 miles away.
Steubenville, a city of 19,000, is 40 miles west of Pittsburgh.
The criminal case against team quarterback Trent Mays and wide receiver Malik Richmond, both 16, is based largely on posted photographs and videos recorded by party-goers. The two players were arrested on Aug. 22 on charges stemming from the alleged rape that apparently culminated from hours of multiple alcohol-fueled parties that served as a kind of unofficial marking of the start of the high school football season.
There is no physical evidence. The alleged victim, who is from Weirton, W.Va., across the Ohio River, and is not a Steubenville student, has said she can’t remember much of what happened that night. The Internet pictures and videos have partially filled in the gaps. Few eyewitnesses have come forward to describe the suspects who are accused of taking sexual advantage of a largely unresponsive person.