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Blog: Social media downfall in Steubenville rape case

7:04 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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It was no surprise Thursday that two 16-year-old girls pleaded guilty for tweeting threats to the victim in the Steubenville rape case.

Aside from being an incredibly awful and public thing to do, it just goes to show you how "football fever" can turn a town into something that defies description.

The girls were given probation -- not enough punishment to my way of thinking. The tweets were sent March 17 and had threatened homicide and bodily harm against the girl raped by two Steubenville High School football players.

The two football players for Big Red -- the high school football team -- had just been found guilty in the rape case by a judge and that's the same day the tweets were sent.

One girl threatened homicide and said "you ripped my family apart," according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office.

That girl is a cousin of defendant Ma'Lik Richmond, one of the football players found guilty.

A tweet from the second girl threatened the rape victim with bodily harm. One of the messages was later reposted on Facebook.

The girls acknowledged in court Thursday they "made bad tweets."

Really? "Bad" tweets? Have you no sense at all? 

Also Thursday, the grand jury investigating whether other crimes were committed in connection with the rape adjourned until May 23 to give Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigators more time to examine evidence and interview witnesses.

One of the issues being considered by the grand jury is whether adults -- like coaches or school administrators -- knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by Ohio law.

DeWine has said nothing is off the table for the grand jury.

Speculation that school officials could be targeted increased last week after investigators searched Steubenville High School and school board offices.

And text messages introduced as evidence in the football players' March trial indicated that head football coach Reno Saccoccia may have known about the rape early on.

The coach "took care of it," defendant Trent Mays said in one text introduced by prosecutors.

Mays, 17, was convicted of raping the Weirton, West Virginia girl and of photographing her naked and sentenced to two years in the state juvenile prison system.

Richmond, 16, was convicted of raping her and sentenced to a year in juvenile prison.

Saccoccia has not commented and school officials say he won't be made available until after the grand jury concludes.

If I were a betting person, I would say there are a lot of uneasy people associated with Steubenville High School right now.

Good. Let them sweat.

WKYC-TV

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