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Steubenville Rape Case: Grand jury investigates whether administrators failed to report rape allegations

Trent Mays, 17, left, talks with one of his defense lawyers, Brian Duncan before the start for the fourth day of his and co-defendant 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond's trial on rape charges in juvenile court on Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Steubenville, Ohio. Mays and Richmond are accused of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August, 2012.
Pool,AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
(CBS/AP) COLUMBUS, Ohio - A grand jury on Tuesday began investigating whether other laws were broken in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players during an alcohol-fueled party last summer.

PICTURES: Steubenville Rape Trial

Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, had been charged with digitally penetrating the intoxicated girl twice on the night of August 11, 2012. In March, Richmond and Mays were found delinquent, which is the juvenile equivalent of being found guilty. The boys were sentenced to one- and two-year terms in the state juvenile detention system.

Now, a grand jury is looking into whether adults, such as coaches or school administrators, knew about the rape allegation but failed to report it.

School superintendent Mike McVey has previously acknowledged that he, other administrators and head football coach Reno Saccoccia were interviewed by investigators in the days leading up to the teens' trial. 

Text messages introduced at trial indicated that Saccoccia may have known about the rape allegation but didn't report it. If true, that would violate Ohio law requiring coaches and others to report suspected abuse. Saccoccia has declined to comment and the school board has declined to make him available. Earlier, Saccoccia was granted a new two-year administrative contract with Steubenville High School.

On Thursday, investigators searched Steubenville High School and the local school board offices.

"We have been from the beginning and are continuing to fully cooperate with the authorities in this investigation," the Steubenville school board said in a statement Thursday.

Investigators also searched Vestige Digital Investigations, a digital forensics storage company in Medina in northeast Ohio. The company's connection to the case was unclear and it denies it's the subject of a criminal investigation.

The owners of a home where a photo was taken of the girl being carried by the two boys later convicted of raping her have also been interviewed by investigators.

That home is the same place a 12-minute cellphone video was filmed of a former Steubenville student laughing and making crude jokes about the victim and the attack as others laughed in the background.

The National Organization of Women has demanded that Attorney General Mike DeWine charge the student seen in the video, Michael Nodianos, with failure to report a crime.

Nodianas' attorney has said his client regrets his actions but didn't have direct knowledge of the attack.

The emergence of the video helped spur allegations of a cover-up and frustration that more people weren't charged in the rape.

DeWine says nothing is off the table for the grand jury, which he announced within hours of the teens' guilty verdict March 17.

"What I promised the Steubenville community was we would get this over as quick as we could, but more importantly, we would do it right," DeWine said last week after announcing the search warrants.

The grand jury, which meets in secret, will convene three to four days a week and hear from dozens of witnesses, DeWine said.

Complete coverage of the Steubenville rape case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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