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Pleas or a day in court to come

November 26, 2013
Weirton Daily Times

Despite the thirst for more heads displayed by some online commentators and surely some corners of the community, it's time for a reminder that rape is not football. Coverups have nothing to do with sportsmanship.

And as has been the case from Ohio State to Penn State to now in Steubenville, coverups related to athletics can make the actual violations become lost in a haze of other charges.

Fact: Kids were drinking at a party or series of parties in August 2012.

Fact: An unconscious girl was raped, as found and defined in a court of law that convicted two Steubenville High School athletes last spring.

Fact: A grand jury convened by the Ohio attorney general investigated, and heard from 123 witnesses during 18 meetings from April to last Friday.

Fact: Six people were indicted, with five of them facing charges that accuse them of a willingness to try to hide or obscure evidence.

The Steubenville High School football program was not on trial, despite the desire of many who aren't part of that program in the community to see it be taken down by the grand jury.

The grand jury was looking to see what conduct adults, be they involved with football or in some other capacity, were involved with regarding either the circumstances that led to the rape itself or the aftermath.

The aftermath, according to the grand jury, included, apparently, enough evidence of lying and the hiding of facts from the authorities to result in the indictment of a school superintendent, a principal, a teacher and coach, and a volunteer with the football program, as well as earlier indictments against the school system's information technology official. (The sixth person indicted was charged with unrelated theft counts that came to light in the investigation.)

Attorney General Mike DeWine did not, cannot and should not have cared about football championships or rivalries or anything else in the community other than the truth. We should not expect him to expound beyond the charges presented because to do otherwise indicates an irresponsibility we should not want in an attorney general.

We cautioned against a rush to judgment and it took more than a year after the original crime of rape, from Aug. 12, 2012, to just last Friday for the case to wind down.

We caution again that indictments are not indicative of guilt but that there is reasonable cause to believe someone acted outside the law. Pleas or a day in court will come.

 
 

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