In my earlier article about the Gang Rape in Steubenville, Ohio, I wrote on how a 16-year-old girl was raped by several members of the high school football team in Steubenville. Though there were possibly 50 witnesses to the rape and several students posted pictures and videos online of the unconscious girl at parties, no one came forward to report any of the rapists. Though the case was kept under wraps for months, it has gain national attention after New York Times and the technology-hacker group Anonymous became involved. Here is a February update on the case:
The two defendants, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, are facing rape charges in juvenile court. Mays’ attorney Adam Nemann asked for a change of venue due to the death threats his client was receiving, but was denied; the case will take place in Steubenville. The defendant attorneys filed a motion to postpone the court date; this motion was granted and the trial will now take place on March 13. The defendant and prosecution attorneys both filed a motion to keep the court private to protect the defendant and victim, but the motion was denied. One of the defendants also filed a motion to refer the victim as an “accuser” because “the ultimate question in this case is whether a crime was committed. Only after such determination can a person be declared a victim” wrote Attorney Walter Madison. The nation will be able to see inside the juvenile court, and sadly, see the victim. The judge in charge of the case is visiting judge Thomas Lipps.
Three football players (Mark Cole, Evan Westlake, and Anthony Craig) testified in October against the two defendants. It was originally believed the witnesses were granted immunity for their testimonies, but now Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the witnesses (all of whom may have photographed the alleged victim) have not been granted immunity. The FBI is currently investigated this trial. At the end of January, UltraViolet presented a petition asking DeWine to investigate the incident to ensure that all of the people who were involved are prosecuted; the petition had 70,000 signatures. The petition mentions how under Ohio law, failure to report a felony is a crime. Thousands of people across the nation demand that all the witnesses face charges since they all knew that their friends raped an unconscious girl, but DeWine says that no one else will be charged. One of the friends who knew about, and joked, about the rape is Michael Nodianos. He is seen on a 12-minute video commenting on how the victim is probably dead and was peed on. He dropped out of Ohio State due to a large number of death threats.
Besides Nodianos, the Steubenville sheriff department has received death threats. Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla has been a target due to his comments at a Occupy Steubenville protest (saying no further arrests would be made) and for his friendship with the football coach Reno Saccoccia. There was even a bomb threat on the Steubenville high school, though it was just a fake. Meanwhile, the victim has been receiving support from the nation, and though she is going through a tough time (crying at night), she hopes her case will help other victims.