Steubenville: Town divided over rape allegations

11:39 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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STEUBENVILLE -- The case of the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by two Steubenville High School students is again the main topic of conversation here.

People are divided into several camps, those who think there has been some kind of cover-up, and those who think things are being handled properly by authorities.

There are even some who think no real crime happened here.

If Steubenville had been a sleepy town on the Ohio River, it has been rudely awakened the last few months by the allegations of rape and coverup.

"It makes it look bad. It's scary," admitted one older resident, on her way to a downtown bus stop.

And now, with national media attention, Steubenville residents know people are talking about them all over the country. The spotlight on this town is not going away, and some don't want it to, until the whole truth comes out.

"I think some people are offended by it, making the town look like it did," said Steubenville resident Josh Sciarra, a graduate of the high school, "but I would like to see everything figured out what really happened. I mean, people have their rights and we have a right to find out what really happened."

Sciarra supports the actions of the hacker group Anonymous, whose online postings of videos and photos related to the case and alleged coverup went viral over the last week.

But one Steubenville High grad and still resident, Samaria Moore, told WKYC she thinks the entire incident has been blown out of proportion.

"I just don't think it's true. I don't think those boys did that. I think this should all come to a stop," she said.

There has been real tension created by the case and the resulting publicity.

Two longtime residents accused the media of fanning the flames. "Just let justice run its course," one said.

"I don't like it, all the media coming down here from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and now the networks," said the other.

A woman taking a break at a downtown tailor shop said, "I'm afraid now, and today my daughter's afraid. She's in third grade and asked me, 'when are they coming to get us?' because of the threat that caused the lockdown."

All Steubenville public schools were on lockdown for 90 minutes Tuesday morning when an anonymous Facebook threat said there could be a shooting. Students were moved away from windows and security was posted at every building.

"Everybody is afraid because you can't trust anybody in Steubenville anymore," was the opinion of a teenager who thought people had become suspicious of one another.

"Everybody's going on and on about it, even being argumentative about it," her friend added. 

People here hold vastly different opinions about the alleged crime, the alleged coverup, and now, the national attention that is the result.


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