In Steubenville, Hundreds Protest Police, Social Media Response to Alleged Rape
By Marylynne Pitz
STEUBENVILLE, OH Jan 6, 2012 — For more than three hours Saturday, chants, signs and speeches filled the cold air outside the Jefferson County Courthouse as a crowd of 800 to 1,000 people demanded a more thorough investigation into the alleged rape of a 16-year-old West Virginia teenager by football players from this economically depressed Ohio Valley community.
Two members of the Steubenville High School football team, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, both 16, have been charged with assaulting the young woman last summer and face trial in February.
The case has attracted national attention because of recent Internet postings, including a 12-minute video of a former Steubenville student recounting the alleged sexual assault in graphic detail. Initially, online conversations focused on a series of alcohol-fueled parties attended Aug. 11 by football players in which the girl, who was inebriated and largely unresponsive, was carried from place to place, photographed and assaulted, according to witnesses. Later postings featured criticism of the teenagers’ behavior and the investigation that followed.
"I will not stand idly by and let a young girl’s life be ruined because she believes everyone is apathetic," said Sable Foster, a 23-year-old Kent State University senior who spoke to the crowd using a bullhorn.