This morning, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that four additional Steubenville, Ohio, school employees have been indicted by a grand jury in relation to the Steubenville rape case, in which two high school athletes were tried and convicted in the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl. According DeWine, via Huffington Post, those charged are:
- Superintendent Michael McVey (pictured above), with a felony count of tampering with evidence, two felony counts of obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor count of falsification and a misdemeanor count of obstructing official business.
- Steubenville High School wrestling coach Seth Fluharty, for failure to report child abuse or neglect, a misdemeanor.
- West Elementary School Principal Lynnett Gorman, also for failure to report child abuse or neglect, a misdemeanor.
- Steubenville High School volunteer football coach Matthew Belerdine, for allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making a false statement in order to mislead a public official and contributing to the delinquency of a child.
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Richard Cohen is a columnist for the Washington Post. He’s also a Roman Polanski apologist, a Clarence Thomas apologist, and a man who’s been personally called out for lewd behavior in front of a 23-year-old aide. So it’s no surprise that Cohen has absolutely nothing good to say about Miley Cyrus and her much ballyhooed twerk-happy VMA performance. In fact, says Cohen, he was so perturbed by the performance that he had to look up the definition of “twerk” in ye olde spellcheck. (We picture him doing this with the help of the Microsoft Office talking paper clip, Clippy, natch.)
Of the performance, Cohen said. “She’s a cheap act, no doubt about it, but for me her performance was an opportunity to discuss one of the summer’s most arresting pieces of journalism — a long New Yorker account [by Ariel Levy] of what became known as the Steubenville Rape. Cyrus should read it.”
Wait. What? Keep reading »
ABC News aired new video of teen partygoers in Steubenville, Ohio, being questioned by police regarding the sexual assault of “Jane Doe,” the then 15-year-old girl whose story has entranced the nation. On the night of her assault, Jane Doe was raped and carried unconscious to multiple parties all while pictures were taken; last week, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays received one year and two years, respectively, in juvenile detention facilities for participating in her abuse. ABC’s video shows teens (their faces not obscured, for some reason) describing how Jane Doe got increasingly drunk throughout the evening — meaning she was less and less able to consent to any sexual behavior. “She was a mess,” says one boy interviewed by cops. “She wasn’t responding. She was passed out.” Keep reading »
“Many people are angry that more time was not given to the offenders. This seems to be the prevailing sentiment. I understand the anger but don’t know if adding a decade onto their sentences would be of any benefit. To me, the problem that needs to be addressed is where in the information chain were the two offenders made to understand that what they did was not wrong on every possible level? You can execute them both tomorrow but still, there is a problem that needs to be dealt with….It is obvious that the two offenders saw the victim as some one that could be treated as a thing. This is not about sex, it is about power and control. I guess that is what I am getting at. Sex was probably not the hardest thing for the two to get, so that wasn’t the objective. When you hear the jokes being made during the crime, it is the purest contempt….So, how do you fix that? I’m just shooting rubber bands at the night sky but here are a few ideas: Put women’s studies in high school the curriculum from war heroes to politicians, writers, speakers, activists, revolutionaries and let young people understand that women have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages and they are worthy of respect.”
––Former Black Flag singer and general punk dude Henry Rollins brings up a good point — a prison sentence isn’t going to alter the overall culture of misogyny and, as he so rightly puts it, contempt for women and girls. But changing the culture in which boys and girls grow up can have a positive impact. [Henry Rollins]
Prior to and in the aftermath of the Steubenville rape trial verdict, donations have poured in from supporters wishing to contribute to the rape victim’s legal counsel. But “Jane Doe”‘s attorney Bob Fitzsimmons says he is doing the case pro bono. Since he is not charging his client for his services, she and her family have asked that any donations be sent to the YWCA’s Madden House in Wheeling, West Virginia, an emergency safe-shelter for women who are rebuilding their lives. Fitzsimmons says that they hope “the attention … can help other people that have been victimized by this type of crime,” Fitzsimmons said, “and give them some strength and some assurance that people are there to help them when that happens.” You can check out the organization and donate as little as $2 via PayPal here. [Madden House; Create Our Own Light]
Sweet mother of God, what the hell is happening with teenagers today? Two teenage girls have been arrested for allegedly making threats — on social media — against the Steubenville rape victim, following Trent Mays’ and Ma’lik Richmond’s convictions on Sunday.
“Let me be clear,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (above) said in a news release on his website announcing the arrests this evening. “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.”
A 16-year-old girl was charged with aggravated menacing for allegedly threatening the life of the victim via Twitter, and a 15-year-old was charged with menacing for allegedly threatening bodily harm via Facebook. In addition to being fucking disgusting, can we talk about how utterly stupid it is to be threatening someone on social media where everyone can see it? Especially when you consider that much of the evidence in the Steubenville rape case — which led to Mays’ and Richmond’s convictions — was gathered on social media. So baffling and depressing. [ABC News]
UPDATE: It turns out MSNBC and CNN also did not bleep out the victim’s name when showing clips of Trent Mays’ statement in court yesterday. I’ve changed the title of the post to reflect that and my ire at Fox News in the text below is now directed at them as well. Additionally, I have pulled the video from my previous post about CNN for the time being, as I believe at one point in the eight minute segment, you can hear Mays use her name. I’ll try to replace the video with a version where her name is bleeped out ASAP.
To quote my good friend Ice T, Fox News can eat a hot bowl of dicks. The conservative news network has rightfully come under fire today for airing the name of the accuser in the Steubenville rape case, which concluded yesterday with a guilty verdict for both of young men accused. During yesterday’s sentencing, both Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were given the opportunity to apologize and plead for leniency. “I would truly like to apologize to [redacted], her family, my family and the community. No picture [of the rape] should have been sent around, let alone even taken.” Those who were watching the proceedings on the live feed could hear the name, but TV news networks are typically expected to bleep out a rape victim’s name, as it is considered journalistically unethical to reveal the identity of those who have come forward with sexual abuse and assault allegations, given the stigma associated with such crimes. This is particularly true when the accuser is a minor, as Jane Doe in the Steubenville case is. Print news outlets have followed the same protocol.
Yet in a segment today, Fox News [UPDATE: And CNN and MSNBC] showed Mays’ apology and did not bleep out the victim’s name. Jane Doe has already been the target of harassment in her community — revealing her identity on national news opens her and her family up to further harassment and threats. It is absolutely unconscionable that Fox News would expose Jane Doe’s identity, adding further injury to what has already been a deeply traumatic experience, one that the teen has faced with more bravery than I could imagine. Keep reading »
UPDATE : Okay, I’ve put the video back, in two parts, minus Trent Mays’ testimony.
UPDATE: I have pulled the video from this post for the time being, as I believe at one point in the eight minute segment, you can hear Mays use the victim’s name. I’ll try to replace the video with a version where her name is bleeped out ASAP. Further info on how Fox News, MSNBC and CNN did not bleep out the victim’s name here.
Yesterday morning, I watched with knots in my stomach as the Steubenville rape verdict was delivered. The evidence — including three key eye witness testimonies, photographs and incriminating text messages — against Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond was vast and it seemed hard to imagine that Judge Tom Lipps wouldn’t convict. Because there was so much evidence that physical contact had occurred between the victim (Jane Doe) and the defendants, the defense focused on trying to prove that while the victim was drunk, she wasn’t so drunk that she couldn’t consent to these acts. Therefore, the verdict in this case, which has drawn international attention, would do much to define when consent can be given in the eyes of the law. And given that this is hardly an isolated incident in one small football-loving town — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine emphasized that rape is a societal problem that is happening in towns and cities all across this country and the world — the decision in this case would be sending a clear message to victims and perpetrators far and wide.
Luckily, Judge Lipps rendered a guilty verdict on all three charges, sentencing Mays to a minimum of two years served consecutively and Richmond to a minimum of one year. At maximum, both could serve time in jail until they are 21. Both will have to register as juvenile sex offenders. Considering the pair could have been tried as adults and thus could have faced much harsher sentences, Judge Lipps ignored their parents’ and attorneys requests for further leniency, saying the sentences were practically a slap on the wrist.
That didn’t stop CNN, however, from being all torn up about it.
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UPDATE : Mays has been sentenced to serve two years consecutively at minimum, or until he is 21 at maximum. Richmond has been sentenced to serve one year at minimum, or until he is 21 at maximum. Both will be required to register as juvenile sex offenders. Both may not have contact with the victim at least until they are 21. They will both be taken into custody today. Judge Lipps responds to calls for leniency by saying such leniency was shown by not trying the defendants as adults.
UPDATE: Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond have been found guilty on all three counts. The prosecutor has asked Judge Tom Lipps to consider the harassment and victim-blaming the victim also dealt with when deciding sentencing. “The absolute disregard for another human being can not go unpunished.” One of the defense lawyers teared up and asked for a moment to collect himself. You can watch a livestream here.
Trent Mays stood up and apologized for “taking pictures” and “sending pictures around.” “No pictures should have been taken,” Mays said before sitting down. Mays makes no mention of the actual sexual assault. Ma’lik Richmond approached the victim who was sitting in the courtroom, and broke down in tears as he apologized, speaking in non-specific terms. Richmond’s father asked Judge Lipps for forgiveness. Keep reading »
My son turns six next week, and among all the other wishes I have for him, I have a silent hope that won’t be shared at his birthday party. It’s one that swims in the depths of my mind, surfacing occasionally when awful things happen that force me to think about it: I wish and hope and pray that my son won’t grow up to be a rapist.
I know that sounds horrible and not a wish a mother of a six year old should even have in the back of her mind, let alone flashing loud and red and painful throughout it. But I can’t help it. We live in a society that is steeped in rape culture, no matter how many people refuse to acknowledge that reality. My worry was driven home more forcefully after watching a video that Anonymous posted online of Steubenville High School students talking about the rape of a 16-year-old fellow student. This case is heartbreaking enough — the victim was sexually assaulted while drunk and unconscious, only to have the photographic proof of her rape spread all over various social media outlets. Her attackers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two football players for the high school’s team The Big Red, were let off relatively lightly, subjected to being under house arrest. However, the victim was also punished, forbidden by the judge in the case from sharing any details of the case, essentially re-victimizing her. Keep reading »