The allegations shocked and roiled
the city of 18,000, but prosecutors brought no charges against the
witnesses, fueling months of furious online accusations of a cover-up to
protect the team -- something law enforcement authorities have
One blogger wrote a post was headlined: 'Steubenville Big Red Rape Accusations: The Other Perpetrators.'
that they can show had firsthand knowledge and was partly in some way
responsible for the event, the rape, they should be charged,' said
Jackie Hillyer, president of the Ohio chapter of the National
Organization for Women.
is among those pressing, at a minimum, for charges of failure to report
a crime, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Steubenville resident Willa Wade said: 'I feel personally that if they
were there, they knew it had happened, they did not report it or stop
it, then they ought to be brought up on the same charges as anybody
The Ohio attorney
general's office, however, informed the three witnesses in a letter last
fall that while they may not have conducted themselves 'in a
responsible or appropriate manner,' their behavior 'did not rise to the
level of criminal conduct,' and they would not be charged.
experts said it is clear prosecutors sorely need the witnesses'
testimony to make their rape case because there is little physical
evidence against the defendants and the girl may have been too
intoxicated to remember much
Laughing: A video from the night of the alleged
attack shows Michael Nodianos (left), a former Steubenville student,
referring to a girl getting raped because she is so drunk
'This prosecutor more than anything
else wants to get a conviction of the culprits and he does not want to
jeopardize that single-minded goal,' said Christo Lassiter, a University
of Cincinnati criminal law professor. 'That's the conservative
approach. Above all else, get the main culprit. If you can get the other
folks along the line, fine.'
Richmond and Mays go on trial Wednesday in juvenile court in Steubenville.
are charged with digitally penetrating the girl, first in the back seat
of a moving car after a mostly underage, alcohol-fueled party Aug. 11,
and then in the basement of a house.
said the girl was so drunk she threw up at least twice and had trouble
walking and speaking. She was also photographed being carried by the two
If convicted, they could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21. They have denied any wrongdoing.
charged in juvenile court aren't usually named, but Mays and Richmond
have been widely identified in news coverage, and their names have been
used in open court.
were charged 10 days after the party, after a flurry of social media
postings about the alleged attack led the girl and her family to go to
The scandal brought
a barrage of accusations and insinuations, mostly online, with some
townspeople supporting the defendants and others complaining that the
football team has unusual sway over the city.
Attorney General Mike DeWine's office took over the case after the
local prosecutor stepped down because her son is a football player at
700-student Steubenville High
The allegations shocked and roiled the city of 18,000
Trial: Some are demanding to know why at least three other teens aren't facing charges in addition to Ma'lik and Trent
Big Red football is a big deal
in Steubenville. The stadium, dubbed Death Valley, sits on a hill above
town, and the team is a nine-time state champion, with back-to-back
titles in 2005 and 2006. Man O' War, a red statue of a rearing stallion,
shoots flames from its mouth each time a touchdown is scored.
students -- Anthony Craig and football players Mark Cole and Evan
Westlake -- testified at a hearing in October, just days after receiving
the letters assuring them they would not be prosecuted.
said at the hearing that Cole and Craig would have been charged if they
hadn't deleted the images on their cellphones.
At the same proceeding, Westlake was asked by a prosecutor why he didn't stop the alleged attack.
was stunned at what I saw,' he said. 'I just wanted -- I wanted to get
out of there and I --I -- I didn't know what to do, I mean.'
defendants' lawyers also raised the possibility that the witnesses did
not know what they were seeing that night. Under questioning, the teen
witnesses said that the girl was able to tell some of the boys the
password to her smartphone and that they never heard her say 'no' or
'So, you don't consider it a sexual assault?' attorney Adam Nemann asked Cole.
feel it's not my place to make that decision on whether it was or
wasn't,' Cole responded. 'I can just tell you what I witnessed.'
'And if this was a sexual assault I'm sure you would have called and told someone, right?' Nemann said. 'I would assume, yes,' Cole said.
a blog run by former Steubenville resident Alexandria Goddard, some
anonymous posters have demanded others at the party be charged,
including football player Cody Saltsman.
sued Goddard for defamation, and the case was settled with Goddard
saying there was no evidence Saltsman was involved in the alleged
Then, in January, a
YouTube video was posted featuring another student, Michael Nodianos,
apparently cracking jokes about the alleged rape just hours after it
occurred, while others in the background chimed in.
is demanding prosecutors charge Nodianos with failure to report a
crime, but Nodianos' lawyer said the young man had no 'firsthand
knowledge of the facts.'