Recently, high school football players in Ohio were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, OH during summer 2012. The controversy is not over. There is a grand jury investigation on possible new charges involving the rape.
Two football players were convicted last Sunday of raping the teenage girl. Prosecutors used text messages as part of the evidence to show the girl was too drunk to consent to sex. The rape occurred in August 2012 during a party where alcohol consumption was intense.
Associated Press reported “nameless bloggers” claiming a cover-up of the rape investigation in Ohio. The following of the bloggers has prompted a judge in eastern Ohio judge, Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr., to request an individual from outside the locale to manage a grand jury investigation into new charges involving the assault.
Jefferson County Judge Bruzzese Jr., of Steubenville, OH, also requested for outside judges to be assigned to prosecute persons the grand jury might charge. In response to Judge Bruzzese Jr., Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the State Supreme Court appointed a retired Summit County judge, Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove, to handle the grand jury. The grand jury will meet in April 2013.
The Associated Press reported Judge Bruzzese Jr. said: “These nameless bloggers, while having produced no evidence of a cover-up have managed to assemble quite a following locally, nationally and internationally.”
One of the football players was sentenced to a minimum of one year in juvenile detention. The other player was sentenced to two years.
Thomas Lipps of Cincinnati, OH handled the five-day trial last week. Immediately after the trial, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a grand jury would investigate whether other individuals should be charged. Other persons under investigation include individuals who failed to come forward after reports of the rape.
The two football players went to Steubenville High School. Officials at the school and the school’s 27 football coaches face possible charges if they were aware of the rape, but did not let law enforcement know. Fox News reported that Jackie Hillyer, president of the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for Women, stated: “Anyone that they can show had firsthand knowledge and was partly in some way responsible for the event, the rape, they should be charged.” Failure to report a child abuse crime is punishable in Ohio by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $250. The school officials and coaches are among persons required by Ohio law to report possible child abuse.
Judge Cosgrove has worked on high-publicity cases. In 2011, she oversaw the trial of Kelley Williams-Bolar, an Akron, OH female convicted of falsifying documents to register her daughters in the Copley-Fairlawn schools from 2006 to 2008. In 2005, Judge Cosgrove convicted a recognized Akron, OH restaurant owner’s wife of helping a drive-by shooter in killing a former lover. Judge Cosgrove sentenced the woman to 20 years to life after a nonjury trial.