Despite Sunday's guilty verdict for two Steubenville (Ohio) High School football players in a high-profile rape trial, the case appears to be far from closed. On Monday, state attorney general Mike DeWine said he would consider filing charges against anyone who failed to speak up after the brutal attack of a drunken 16-year-old West Virginia girl during a party last summer - including Steubenville's head football coach Reno Saccoccia.
According to CBSSports.com, Saccoccia and the owners of the house where the party took place - and where an infamous 12-minute video that went viral was recorded - could be investigated. (In fact, social media played a dominant role in this case, with text messages, photos and video from the party and its aftermath hitting the Internet. As the victim's mother told the accused, 17-year old Trenton Mays and 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond, on Sunday: "You were your own accuser, through the social media that you chose to publish your criminal conduct on." Both boys were judged "delinquent" of rape - the juvenile version of being convicted.)
During last week's trial, Mays testified that Saccoccia knew about the incident and "took care of it." A grand jury will meet in mid-April to consider evidence gathered by investigators from dozens of interviews with, among others, all 27 of the football program's coaches (including junior high, freshman and volunteer coaches). CBSSports.com reports:The video, passed around widely online, depicted a student joking about the attack. "She is so raped right now," the boy says.
Investigators interviewed the owners of a Steubenville house where the video was filmed, which was also the same place a photograph was taken of the girl being carried by her ankles and wrists, DeWine's office confirmed Monday. That picture, Exhibit No. 1 at the trial, generated international outrage. There is no phone listing for the home.
Numerous students, including defendant ... Mays, referred to the girl as "dead" in text messages the night of the attacks, apparently in reference to her unconscious state. The girl, who acknowledged drinking, testified she had no memory of the assaults.
Steubenville City School District superintendent Mike McVey released a statement Monday that reiterates the district's intent to wait before taking action, according to Associated Press reports. "What we've heard so far is deeply disturbing," McVey's statement read. "At this time, we believe it is important to allow the legal process to play out in court before we as a school district make any decisions or take action against any of the individuals involved with this case." McVey declined to address the grand jury investigation.
Also on Monday, two teenage girls were arrested on misdemeanor menacing charges for threatening the victim via Facebook and Twitter. "Let me be clear," DeWine told Cleveland.com. "Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you."
In the April issue, Athletic Business will explore how social media is complicating administrators' efforts to oversee student-athlete behavior.