Steubenville: 2 arrested for threatening rape victim

6:57 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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STEUBENVILLE -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine tells WKYC's Tom Beres two girls have been arrested for making threats social media threats against the victim in the recent emotional rape trial here.

"Let me be clear. Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you," said DeWine.

Detectives with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office alerted the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the online threats soon after Sunday's sentencing hearing concluded.

The Steubenville girls, 15 and 16, were both taken to the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center upon arrest.

The 16-year-old is charged with one misdemeanor count of aggravated menacing for threatening the life of the victim on Twitter.

The 15-year-old is charged with one misdemeanor count of menacing for threatening bodily harm to the victim on Facebook.

He said BCI, Steubenville Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff's office collaborated in the investigation.

Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty said police arrested the two girls around 4 p.m. Monday.

A posted tweet from someone claiming to be a cousin of one of the convicted football players said, "You ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, So when I see you b##ch, it's gone ba a homocide.

Attorney General Mike DeWine told Tom Beres "We take any kind of threat seriously....Every rape case is a tragedy. Every rape case is difficult for the victim, but she has continued to be victimized by people in the social media."

DeWine said a grand jury will decide if coaches, school officials, parents or teens...tried to cover up the rape to protect the community's proud football program.

"What I owe the people of Steubenville is two things. One of them is to get this over as fast as we can. But it's also important we get it over right," he said.

Sixteen people refused to cooperate with investigators.

"There certainly could be more charges...This will be many days and we will have many more witnesses."

At Cleveland's Rape Crisis Center, publicity about the Steubenville case is encouraging more women to call to report assaults, old and recent.

Center President Megan O'Bryan said, "We have seen a definite spike in calls."

Normally the center gets a couple victim calls per week. Lately it's been getting eight or nine calls per day.

"We're kind of hitting a tipping point where people are saying this behavior is not acceptable," she continued.

She supports DeWine's grand jury probe.

"Let's look at a system that may have silenced this or protected the perpetrators....If anyone tried to sweep this under the rug, I think they need to be held accountable," she declared.

The center is working with Steubenville schools to develop and implement rape prevention and education programs.

Many counties in Ohio lack a Rape Crisis Center counterpart.

Ohio does not fund such programs. DeWine said Wednesday he will release a study about that and suggested that may also include plans for new funding.


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