Protesters Demand Justice in Steubenville
“How many women out there have ever been raped?” a speaker shouted.
Hands in the crowd went up.
“Then you know what she’s going through!” the speaker replied.
Several other women took the microphone and talked about their own experiences as rape victims.
Also announced on Saturday was a website sponsored by the City of Steubenville and the Steubenville Police Department.
Steubenville Facts will but used to distribute the most recent information in the case and includes a timeline and other resources.
Steubenville is a proud, tight-knit town known for Dean Martin and Big Red Football, but that pride was shattered after allegations surfaced about two star football players.
Quarterback Trent Mays and teammate Ma’lik Richmond, both 16, are charged with raping the girl.
“My daughters have talked to her, and it’s very hard for her and her parents. It’s very sad,” said Julie Devore, of Steubenville, about the alleged victim.
However, Richmond’s attorney is concerned the images and messages posted to social media have been taken out of context.
“In a court of law, you couldn’t use that. As this video that has gone viral and has been seen all around the world. Now that it’s been released, the problem is my client’s opportunity at a fair trial has been completely hijacked,” said Walter Madison, the defense attorney.
But those pictures and tweets are at the heart of the criminal charges against the football players, who are big stars in town.
“Through this all, I’ve asked people to come forward with something I can substantiate,” said Chief Bill McCafferty with the Steubenville Police Department.
Chief McCafferty says police were aware of the video back in August and immediately gave it to prosecutors, which is now the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“The investigation is continuing, and frankly I’m not at liberty to say whether or not anyone else will be charged or not be charged,” said Attorney General Mike Dewine.
“The football program isn’t what’s most important. The most important thing is that justice comes to the kids that did what they did to that girl,” said Robert Banyas, of Steubenville.
“It’s a bad taste in the mouth for everyone. And I just want our community to be back to the way it was,” said Thomas Soloman, of Cleveland.
Back to before a case that thrust Steubenville into the spotlight, dimming those Friday night lights and dividing the town.
“It’s being portrayed badly and it’s simply not true. This is a very good community, very good people. Nothing is being covered up,” said Chief McCafferty.
“It’s a small town. We’re supposed to take care of one another. And we have not done that here. And shame on all the people who did not do the right thing,” said Devore.
Mays and Richmond head to trial Feb. 13.