Ohio judge will decide on rape trial venue change
A judge in Ohio is expected to rule this week on whether to move the trial of two high school students charged with raping a drunk and unconscious girl as classmates tweeted comments and shared pictures of the incident.
The case has drawn national attention to Steubenville, Ohio, for the sordidness of the alleged crime and for the manner in which details of it leaked out: via social media, which revealed damning photographs, text messages and other communications that helped the prosecution.
The change of venue is one of three decisions facing Judge Thomas Lipps, who heard arguments on Friday from attorneys representing the media, the girl's family, and the accused boys, both 16.
The defense wants the trial's Feb. 13 start date delayed. The girl's family wants the trial closed to the press and public to protect her privacy, although they have not filed a formal motion requesting that. The media are demanding it remain open.
Critics of police and prosecutors say they have not done enough to track down more possible participants in the alleged rape; law enforcement officials and defenders of the accused say critics have been misled by the social media focus on the case.
Law enforcement officials said they were hampered by a delay in hearing of the incident, which occurred the night of Aug. 11. The 16-year-old girl and her family did not report it until Aug. 14 when pictures and videos of the incident taken by witnesses had been posted online and shared among local students. They included images of the girl naked, unconscious or seemingly too drunk to move. The defendants have said any sexual contact was consensual and deny raping the girl.
By the time she went to police, the girl had showered, erasing physical evidence. By the time investigators reached the teenagers who had taken pictures of the incident or communicated with friends about it, many had deleted the evidence from their cellphones.
Some images and words remain, however. One shows the girl, apparently unconscious, being carried by the defendants. One of the boys grasps her arms and the other her ankles.
A video posted online shows a third Steubenville teenager, Mike Nodianos, joking about the rape of someone he refers to repeatedly as a “dead” girl and relating details of the incident. Nodianos, 18, has not been charged in the case. His attorney says he was drunk when he made the comments and was only repeating what others had told him.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Riot erupts in Baltimore after funeral for man hurt in police custody
- Storm knocks out power to New Orleans airport for hours
- Obamacare contraception ruling thrown out
- Administration pushes Iran nuclear pact on 2 fronts
- Honus Wagner baseball card sells for $1.32M
- Man formally charged with murder of Indiana student
- Study a surprise: Commercial bees unfazed by pesticides
- Lynch takes office as U.S. Attorney General
- GOP leaders able to forge deal on budget
- Boston bomber’s lawyers plead with jury to spare his life
- Iowa avian flu outbreak might be spreading