Grand jury probe in Stuebenville rape hits 5 months
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped in eastern Ohio last year has hit the five-month mark without criminal charges.
A chief issue before the 14-member panel is whether coaches, school administrators or other adults knew of the allegation but failed to report it as required by Ohio law.
The grand jury convened by Attorney General Mike DeWine has met periodically since its first meetings in late April and early May, when it heard three days of testimony and evidence.
DeWine said on Wednesday the panel would meet again on Friday, likely for one day — the first time it has met since mid-August. He said he couldn't talk about its deliberations or offer a timeline.
“What we do in our office is we follow the facts and see where the facts take us, and we do that with any investigation,” DeWine said.
He added: “Certainly we want to move as quickly as we can.”
DeWine announced the grand jury on March 17, the same day a judge convicted two Steubenville High School football players of raping the West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party after a football scrimmage in August 2012.
Allegations of a cover-up dogged the case, despite charges brought against the boys shortly after the attack. Attention was fueled by online activists who said more football players should have been charged. Three teens who saw the attacks, including two players, were granted immunity in exchange for their testimony.
The National Organization of Women has long called for DeWine to prosecute a fourth teen who cracked jokes about the rape in a video that implies he had direct knowledge of the assault. His attorney says he did not.
Grand juries operate by different rules and thresholds of guilt, and face few deadlines other than statutes of limitations, said David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh criminal law professor. Prosecutors, who run the panels, aren't obliged to say how long grand juries will meet or make promises about its conclusions, Harris said.
“The bottom-line answer is that this could take as long as it takes,” Harris said.
Former county prosecutor Mike Miller agreed, saying lengthy deliberations are more common in investigative grand juries looking at particular cases. By contrast, many counties have grand juries that meet daily, weekly or monthly to consider charges in more routine prosecutions.
“I'm sure that for something that's pretty far ranging, they'll get every bit of information they can before the grand jury,” said Miller, a private practice attorney in Columbus who was Franklin County prosecutor from 1980 to 1996.
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.
- Feds to protect 20 coral species
- Johns’ ex-aide admits thefts
- Louisiana Gov. Jindal sues Obama over Common Core
- Senate to look at earthquake risks at California nuke plant
- Hot-sauce company offers tours to irritated neighbors
- Texas man cleared of shooting drunken driver who killed his 2 sons
- Ferguson regains its peace, normalcy
- Pilot missing in Va. fighter crash
- New rules for highly addictive, hydrocodone-containing medications near
- Study links availability of medical marijuana with lower deadly overdose rate
- Pair of ‘barbaric murders’ in Philly believed to have been carried out by gang