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Lawyer insists teen, family wanted Ohio rape case pursued

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 8:30 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The lawyer for a 16-year-old girl raped by two Ohio high school football players is disputing a prosecutor's account that the girl's father initially wanted the investigation into the case dropped.

The prosecutor said on Wednesday that she stands by her earlier statement.

The lawyer, Bob Fitzsimmons, said the girl and her family were only taking time to consider the effects of an investigation on their daughter and her mental health, including the possibility of her testifying.

“At no time did the parents request to terminate the investigation and proceedings,” Fitzsimmons wrote in an email this week. “They fully cooperated with law enforcement throughout all of the proceedings.”

The two boys were found guilty last month of raping the girl after an alcohol-fueled party in August.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin had said investigators decided to pursue the case even after the victim's father asked that it be dropped, the Steubenville Herald-Star reported Sunday.

Her office couldn't take the time to wait on the family because evidence needed to be preserved, she said.

“We have to collect all the evidence and do as many interviews as we can before the evidence disappears,” Hanlin said.

A 14-member grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence April 30 regarding whether any other laws were broken. They will examine allegations that some adults, including the head football coach, may have known about the assault early. Teachers and coaches are among officials required by Ohio law to report abuse.

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