FBI probes cyber threats against Steubenville sheriff

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla talks about how the FBI is investigating cyber threats in the eastern Ohio city that include a death threat received by the sheriff in his office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Steubenville, Ohio. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

STEUBENVILLE, OhioThe FBI is investigating cyber threats in an eastern Ohio city that include death threats against the local sheriff's family and an email that apparently shut down the police chief's computer.

The threats are part of a series of online messages that have targeted individuals and authorities in Steubenville amid increased attention over two high school football players who are facing rape charges.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said Wednesday he'd provided the FBI a copy of an anonymous Facebook post in which someone threatened to kill his family.

Steubenville Police Chief William McCafferty said he gave the FBI an email that he had opened Wednesday morning, which then disabled his computer.

FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren said he could not immediately comment.

The two teenage boys are set for trial next month in juvenile court on charges they raped a 16-year-old in August. Their attorneys have denied the charges in court.

Much of the evidence in the case played out on social media, in which the photos of the seemingly unconscious girl were posted online. A video published and then deleted from YouTube shows a third freshman, Michael Nodianos, joking about the alleged rape.

The hacking collective Anonymous has staged rallies in support of the alleged victim, and hackers were able to dig up and re-post the deleted YouTube video online.

According to the Steubenville Herald Star, Nodianos' attorney said someone hacked into his client's email and social media accounts, as well as the email accounts of his family members. He has since dropped out of Ohio State University, where he was slated to attend on a scholarship.

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