Witness cooperation urged in OH football rape case

Students withholding information about an alleged rape in an eastern Ohio city last summer are thwarting investigators, school officials said Thursday, as the FBI looks into threats to local authorities who are working on the case against two high school football players.
Associated Press
Jan 11, 2013

The Steubenville school board is also expanding programs to raise further awareness of sexual harassment, bullying, date rape and substance abuse in the wake of the alleged incident in August in which two high school football players are accused of raping a 16-year-old girl.

The district said in a statement it is lining up training programs for faculty, staff, parents and students, with "targeted sessions" for all student-athletes.

The statement said officials were troubled to learn police were having difficulty getting cooperation from witnesses.

"By remaining silent, witnesses thwart the work of investigators which may ultimately prevent justice from being served," the statement said.

The local sheriff said Wednesday his family had received a death threat and the Steubenville police chief said an email he received shut down his computer.

Online messages have targeted individuals and authorities in Steubenville amid increased attention to the rape charges against two high school football players.

The city and sheriff's office had already voluntarily taken down their websites before Wednesday as a precaution against attacks and the county offices' website is online only during business hours, also in case of after-hours attacks.

Steubenville police Chief William McCafferty said he was checking work email at his office Wednesday when he opened a message and his computer was disabled.

McCafferty said the email was one in a series he's received from someone claiming to be a hacker angry at others who have been critical of law enforcement's handling of the case. McCafferty said the emailer had been sending directions in attachments for how to get back at the group.

McCafferty said he never opened any attachments but his computer was disabled anyway. The FBI has a copy of the email, McCafferty said. He said he's also stopped using his home computer for fear of being hacked.

Wednesday afternoon, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said he was advised of a Facebook threat by an anonymous poster that named his family. The post also included death threats against other law enforcement officials and Steubenville individuals.

"The police who protect them must be executed," the post said, with "them" referring to students at Steubenville High School. Abdalla said he he'd provided the FBI a copy of the post, which the state Attorney General's office said was forwarded by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

"This has got to be some crackpot sick individual out there who would put this stuff out there," Abdalla said Wednesday.

Earlier this week the district said it was placing unarmed guards at its buildings following a threat of violence that a student received on his Facebook page. The board said Thursday the guards would also be at extracurricular events.

The district and city have been under scrutiny since the alleged attack over the summer and the arrests and charges against two players. Some question why other students weren't charged, and bloggers and hacker-activists have alleged a cover-up meant to protect the popular football program.

A judge determined after a lengthy hearing in October there was only enough evidence to charge the two students, one of whom is accused of raping the girl in a car, the other in the basement of a house.

At that hearing, a third student testified he took a video with his phone of the alleged attack in the car, while another student testified he took pictures with his phone of the alleged attack in the basement.

Both testified they deleted the images within hours. Prosecutors said at the hearing that the two would have been charged had those images been found.

 

Comments

WILSML

WHERE IS TODAYS E-PAPER???????

luvblues2

Next new "real-life" show will be, "Mob Wives of Steubenville, OH".

Mommy25

I noticed that the author of this article seems to be choosing their words very carefully. I've read that there is a lot more information concerning this case. I hope that ALL involved, whether those taking photographs or those covering up, get charged appropriately.

John Harville

Gotta protect the Big Red... at whatever cost.

FearistheMindKiller

Maybe if the police/sheriff had properly collected evidence early on it would have helped the case. Apparently law enforcement "allowed" certain football players to enter their locker room and get their cell phones from their lockers and then walk the phones outside to law enforcement. This was supposedly done in cooperation with their disgusting excuse for a coach and the cops.

It doesn't take a lot of brain power to realize that if a cop is asking you to go get your phone while he/she waits outside that it gives the kids time to open their phone and quickly delete any video, photographic or text evidence. Why hasn't law enforcement gotten search warrants for all the cell phone carriers and done GPS tracing along with data mining to pull up the "deleted" photos and video?

If it hadn't been for Anonymous posting the Twitter and Facebook posts of the students online much would be buried. The true feelings of those boys towards the rape victim was displayed in their Tweets immediately after the repeated raping of the girl. Disgusting and abhorrent aren't strong enough words. Those boys should have been kicked off the team and expelled for conduct unbecoming to a student athlete and unacceptable as a student in their school.

This has been buried in most of the news stories. The AP has done a pretty awful job reporting on the story. Go to the NY Times and you'll find a pretty comprehensive story about the events prior to Anonymous getting involved.

It's really a big fat joke that the Steubenville head coach allowed players who were witnesses, and potentially involved in the rape to continue playing after the initial arrests. The coach claims he asked his players if they had done anything wrong, and when the players said "no" that was good enough for him. WOW! What total abdication of responsibility as an adult and head coach of a high school football team. On top of that he threaten the physical being of a NY Times reporter. Why that guy still has a job reflects on how messed up Steubenville and the school system is.

Mommy25

I'm sure it's Anonymous the author is accusing as being the terrible hacker that's shutting their computers down and scaring them. I'm sure many of them have a lot to be afraid of. I hope Anonymous makes public knowledge of all their secrets. That's why I found this story rather uninformative and biased ... I've already heard what Anonymous had to say.

doratheexplorer

Sounds like an episode of SVU

wiredmama222

If Anonymous has the information and PROOF of all this, why not help the police (the FBI or someone outside Steubenville) instead of scaring everyone. I am beginning to wonder if he has all he says he has or even if he is that informed. Sounds to me like the person is just scaring for the sake of doing so to make the real cover up artists step back a notch.

At this point, the entire rape has been lost in the shuffle and this girl is being shoved to the back burner. What a shame for her, she is the victim.

luvblues2

Anonymous is a group of hackers, wiredmama. They are cyber terrorists at times, and at other times they look out for the lil guy. Do a look up and see.

wiredmama222

Oh, I believe you. The point I was trying to make is the person getting lost is all this is the girl. I don't care about the hacker(s) at all.

luvblues2

AND, MAYBE this will teach kids to quit posting EVERYTHING they do, online.

If you want privacy, protect it.

Dr. Information

So you are saying if you rape someone just dont put it online so you can hide it ? What a horrible post by you.

luvblues2

No Mr. Misinformation. You've seemingly mistaken my comment. I'll put it easy for you.

If you are going to do or watch something stupid or downright terrible, don't be stupid enough to record it, put it on the Internet and then try to erase it as if it never happened.

Anyone with ANY sense would not have done anything like that, let alone stand and watch and record it. Are we clear?