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Ohio rape case grand jury adjourns for 3 weeks

| Thursday, May 2, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio grand jury has adjourned for three weeks while investigators go back to analyzing evidence and interviewing witnesses to determine whether other laws were broken in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players last summer.

The panel in Steubenville had met three days in a row before the adjournment was announced when the grand jury wrapped up on Thursday afternoon.

The delay will allow investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation “to continue evidence analysis and witness interviews,” Attorney General Mike DeWine's office said in a statement.

One of the issues before the panel is whether adults such as coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by Ohio law.

Also Thursday, two teenage girls were sentenced to probation after guilty pleas in the case of threatening tweets sent after the guilty verdict in the rape case was announced March 17.

One girl was charged for a tweet that threatened homicide and said “you ripped my family apart,” according to the attorney general's office.

The girl is a cousin of defendant Ma'Lik Richmond, one of the football players found guilty.

A Twitter message from the second girl threatened the rape victim with bodily harm.

The two 16-year-olds admitted to a single misdemeanor charge of telecommunications harassment and received six months' probation, said Sara Gasser, an attorney for one of the girls.

Speculation that school officials could be targeted increased last week after investigators searched Steubenville High School and offices of the city school board.

Text messages introduced as evidence in the football players' March trial indicated that head football coach Reno Saccoccia may have known about the rape early on.

Trent Mays, 17, was convicted of raping the West Virginia girl and of photographing the underage girl naked and sentenced to two years in the state juvenile prison system.

Richmond, 16, was convicted of raping the girl and sentenced to a year in juvenile prison.

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