Teen Rape Trial Also Puts Steubenville, Ohio, in the Dock
On Wednesday, two high school boys will stand trial on charges of raping the girl in August, but more is at stake than the futures of the defendants. Steubenville, once famous for steel, Dean Martin and football trophies, is also on trial, and it is fighting to clear itself of accusations that a small-town fixation on high school athletes allowed a hideous crime to occur in front of witnesses who didn’t report it.
“The actions of a few have basically condemned our whole city,” City Manager Cathy Davison said. “Obviously we do not support sexual assault.” Fallout from the case has prompted Steubenville, population 19,000, to hire a Washington-based crisis manager to guide it through the tumult.
Critics of the investigation, though, cannot understand why more people have not been charged with failure to report a crime.
Most prominent among those critics is Alexandria Goddard, a crime blogger who grew up in the area and whose early postings on the incident helped propel the case to national prominence. Goddard, who no longer lives here, saw a news report on the arrests of Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays, both 16, on Aug. 22. The arrests were made after the girl, who says she was too intoxicated to recall details, became aware of pictures and chatter online about the incident. She told her parents, who went to police.