Rape charges against high school players divide Steubenville, Ohio

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1 - 10 of 10 Comments Last updated Jan 7, 2013
Steubenville

Springboro, OH

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#1
Sep 2, 2012
 
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- It’s Monday, and ominous-looking clouds are pushing over Harding Stadium as dozens of football players in practice jerseys prepare to take on Cleveland’s Benedictine Bengals.
But this day two key players are missing from the field.
Police had arrested two sophomore starters just days before and charged them with kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old girl from a town just across the river in West Virginia. One of them is also accused of taking a nude photo or video of the girl.
Several players still on the practice field are also believed to be linked to the incident. Steubenville police are trying to determine whether they were there at the time of the attack or sent digital images of it all over cyberspace.
Officials continue to investigate details of the reports — that the girl was drugged into unconsciousness, ferried from party to party, raped and urinated on before ending up at home where her parents, discovering she was disoriented, took her to a local hospital.
On the practice field, longtime coach Reno Saccoccia is planted inside a huddle of boys. He occasionally grabs a player by the shoulders and peers into his helmet.
Saccoccia is talking X’s and O’s.
The rest of the town is talking rape.
Some have questioned whether football players tied to the incident should still be playing. Others in this town that practically shuts down each Friday for the high school game say there was no reason to bench them — yet.
It’s hardly the first time in Ohio, or anywhere else in the country, that high school athletes have been charged with rape. It is not the first time such allegations have divided a town, either.
But the high-pitched back-and-forth over the past two weeks in this Ohio Valley town illuminates how Steubenville’s pride-driven adulation of its sons is clashing mightily with the reality that it may be harming its daughters.
Steubenville

Springboro, OH

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#2
Sep 2, 2012
 
Bystanders in cyberspace

Central to the conversation is a distasteful anthology of one night’s events, created by players and recent graduates through a series of Tweets, online postings, photos and at least one video.

Within this mix, police are searching for evidence against the local stars that could make them, and possibly others, felons.

Whether found to be criminal or not, the remarks of teenage cyber bystanders have many dumbfounded, wondering how so many young adults could discuss the incident online but not step up in person to help the victim or, later, the police.

That alone, some say, should motivate the town — and the schools — to change the culture. So far, there’s little evidence that is happening.

Days before a police rape report was made, pictures, video and offensive Tweets circulated online about what people are now cautiously referring to as "the incident."

But even so, few people have gone to authorities with information, in spite of pleas from Police Chief William McCafferty.

"That night [of the incident], not one person stepped up and said something. Whatever happened, not one person stepped in to stop it," he said.

After the rape was reported, McCafferty went on television urging parents and kids to come forward if they were witnesses or had received photos or video.
Steubenville

Springboro, OH

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#3
Sep 2, 2012
 
Again, mostly silence. Only one parent called and one other approached the chief at a football game.

Within a week of the Aug. 14 report, police and prosecutors felt they had enough evidence to arrest two of the football players. Authorities also got search warrants to seize cellphones so they could be analyzed. The search warrants were sealed by a local judge.

Police said they were still awaiting results on other physical and biological evidence collected at a crime scene and a local hospital. Lab tests should also reveal whether the victim was drugged.

Meanwhile, Steubenville’s lone juvenile-crime detective is slogging through all of the Tweets, the rumor-laden forums and message boards, looking for kernels of truth.

"We have a lot of rumors, but we can’t build a case on rumors," McCafferty said. "We need evidence."

That evidence will probably come in large part from confiscated cellphones and Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts. And from the dozens of teens and young adults who supposedly attended parties the weekend of the reported rape.

McCafferty said what bothers him most about the case is the silence — both on the night of the incident and now.

Before the 16-year-old girl’s parents reported the crime to Steubenville police, many of the online posts had been deleted — or so students thought.

Many of the missives are still searchable online and have been preserved on blogs, like Prinniefied.com , run by Alex Goddard, who formerly lived in Steubenville and now is a national social media and web analyst.

Goddard said she felt the chance that others involved might not be charged was too great, so she began her own investigation online.

"I felt the scab needed to be back to expose the truth," she said, adding that during her search she also found students’ Twitter conversations from April indicating members of another of Steubenville’s sports team were being accused of rape. No police report was made.

From the incident involving the football players in August, she posted screen-grabs from the Twitter and YouTube accounts of Steubenville student athletes and some recent graduates, including one at Ohio State University, who Tweeted the night of the party: "Song of the night is Rape Me by Nirvana."

The same person, who said he wasn’t at the gathering but was communicating with friends who were, also referred to the girl as "the dead body" and said: "Some people deserve to be peed on."

A Steubenville football player posted a 12-minute video related to the incident on YouTube that was deleted before police got the report. It was tagged with the words "rape" and "obscene."

While the video can no longer be watched, the name of it and evidence that another Steubenville football player also Tweeted the same video can still be seen online.

After the arrests a Steubenville student Tweeted to one of the arrested teens, "f --- em bro. i got ur back man. Someone took s --- to far."

Yet another football player opined, "Were not gonna let dumb s --- like this mess up our state championship goal."
Nacho Vato

Cambridge, OH

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#5
Sep 2, 2012
 

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In the same town notorious for Traci Lords. WHO KNEW?
bosco

Columbus, OH

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#6
Jan 5, 2013
 

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These prima donna athletes need to be taken to task.

“Cats rule.”

Since: Dec 09

Chardon Ohio.

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#7
Jan 5, 2013
 

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From what I saw on the news last night,there are supposed to be a lot of people from all over coming there today for a demonstration against the cops because they wouldn't arrest more of the players involved.

Since: Sep 08

Neon City Oh.

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#10
Jan 5, 2013
 

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This should be a warning to ANY area that worships high school sports.
When you tell teenage athletes that they can do anything they want and there will always be someone there to clean up their mess, they will make a mess.
Sports Worshipping Areas

Columbus, OH

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#11
Jan 5, 2013
 

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WDRussell wrote:
This should be a warning to ANY area that worships high school sports.
When you tell teenage athletes that they can do anything they want and there will always be someone there to clean up their mess, they will make a mess.
Thank you for pointing that out WDRussell. We will change our ways immediately!
Spookishere F trolls

Toledo, OH

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#13
Jan 6, 2013
 

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Catman Dave wrote:
From what I saw on the news last night,there are supposed to be a lot of people from all over coming there today for a demonstration against the cops because they wouldn't arrest more of the players involved.
Cops have to be careful they might arrest the one smart kid who is not a geek and that kid could accidentally release video of them ( cops) selling drugs or pimping.
Ike T

Valley City, OH

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#15
Jan 7, 2013
 

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for fity dollas u can get bust a nut den piss on da beatch 2. an extra 100 u can sheets on her 2.

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