STEUBENVILLE - The attorney representing Michael Nodianos said Monday afternoon his client saw a 16- year-old Weirton female leave a party early Aug. 12 with two young men, but stressed his client was not at the house where an alleged rape occurred.
Dennis McNamara spent more than an hour with local, regional and national media outlets answering questions about his client and the events of Aug. 11-12.
According to McNamara, "Michael is the person on a video that was posted on several Internet sites last week and he made several very callous comments and is ashamed and embarrassed by the comments on the video. He regrets those comments. He was not raised in that manner. I don't believe it was a crime to make the video, but it was stupid."
Columbus attorney Dennis McNamara talked with local, regional and national media outlets Monday afternoon about his client, who was featured in a 12-minute video that went viral last week. During the video, Michael Nodianos can be heard laughing about a 16-year-old Weirton female who was the victim of an alleged rape last August. McNamara said his client was not involved in the alleged rape. -- Dave Gossett
"Michael didn't know the Jane Doe in this case. He has since been told she was at the student's house where he was drinking, and she was there drinking as well. But he didn't know that, and he had never met her. He left the party around midnight on Saturday, went to McDonald's and then to a friend's house. She was leaving just a few moments after he arrived at the second house. He saw her leave with two guys. I don't know if he saw her being carried out of that house," McNamara related.
"There were three witnesses to the alleged rape at a third house and two of them came back to the house where Michael made the 12-minute video at around 2 a.m. or 2:30 a.m. People at the other house came back and talked about what happened. The kid shooting the video of Michael was not a witness to the alleged rape. The video was made at a friend's house and not at the house where the alleged incident occurred," said McNamara.
Nodianos jokes on the video about the alleged rape and refers to the female as looking "dead."
McNamara referred to his client as Michael during the press conference, but earlier Monday the attorney said "The video was originally posted on YouTube in August by another individual who then deleted it from YouTube. The video was obtained by someone else last week and surfaced on the Internet, and the family of Michael Nodianos has been hammered ever since," said McNamara.
"Michael could not have stopped the alleged rape from occurring because he learned about it after the fact. It wasn't something he could have stopped. He did tell the police everything he knew. Everything he knew about the incident came from others. Everything he knew came from comments of other young people," declared McNamara.
McNamara said he assumes parents were not home at any of the three houses that night.
"If they were, they should be charged. I am certain if the police have evidence they would charge any adult if they provided alcohol to kids. If the police believe or had knowledge parents were there they would charge them," added McNamara
McNamara said the parents of Nodianos contacted him to ask for advice on dealing with the video that surfaced Thursday.
"I'm not here as an attorney in the sense of defending him. I'm just a spokesperson for his family. They didn't know who to call so they called me and asked what would I suggest," related McNamara.
"Michael is a good kid who was a scholar student at Steubenville High School where he graduated in 2012. He did not play football but did participate in other sports until his junior year and has never been in trouble. He is one of six students in his class to have perfect attendance while attending high school," described McNamara.
"His parents love him, but they share in the disappointment and Michael's lack of judgment. This has been a hard time for this family," McNamara said.
"The video was initially put on YouTube by the kid who shot it and then taken down a few days later. But someone was able to retrieve the video last week and posted it on the Internet," noted McNamara.
"Michael knows the comments he made in that video were dumb, inappropriate and insensitive. The takeaway from this is Michael is a really good kid from a good family and he really regrets this. But there was no criminal activity by him. He has received threats. Hopefully, none of those threats are serious. He doesn't need a body guard because the attacks have been electronic," continued McNamara.
"Attorney General Mike DeWine has described the 12-minute video as disgusting. It is also disappointing, insensitive and unfortunate," McNamara told reporters.
"It is common for young and stupid to be used in the same sentence so often. Michael and the kid with the camera started joking and they started fueling each other as they went along. There was no reason for them to be saying those inappropriate things. It was a regrettable and really stupid thing to do," stated McNamara.
McNamara said Nodianos successfully completed the fall semester at Ohio State University but decided during the Christmas break to not return for the spring semester.
Nodianos was one of 68 high school students in Ohio to receive an Ohio State University Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship.
"Someone hacked the Ohio State University e-mail system. There were people making the rounds of Michael's dormitory at Ohio State. He was concerned if he continued taking classes it would have been an insurmountable distraction," remarked McNamara.
McNamara also said someone has hacked into e-mail accounts, "belonging to Michael, his parents and even his grandfather. They have had to change their cell phones. Someone has also hacked Michael's old Facebook and Twitter accounts and posted false statements."
"The Nodianos family hopes this will die down after the case is resolved and he can go back to college and return to the normal life of a college student," said McNamara.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta released a statement Monday evening regarding the ongoing investigation into the rape charges in Steubenville.
"As the father of two daughters and grandfather of four granddaughters, had something like what is being alleged here have happened to one of my loved ones, I would be demanding justice to the fullest extent of the law. I have spoken with DeWine about this case, and am confident that the state and local authorities are conducting a thorough investigation," Johnson said.
"Violence against women has no place in any civilized society, especially America. I am heartbroken for the victim and her family, and am confident that justice will be served through a fair trial so that the healing process can begin," said Johnson.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)