Social media casts spotlight on Steubenville, Ohio rape case

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Text messages posted to social networking sites that night seemed to brag about the incident, calling the girl “sloppy,” making references to rape and suggesting even that she had been urinated on, according to Goddard.

In one video, posted by Anonymous on Wednesday — apparently taken the night of the attack — one teenager makes joke after joke about the girl’s condition, saying she must have died because she didn’t move during one assault.

Anonymous identified the teen by a name that doesn’t match the two who were charged, but CNN cannot independently confirm his identity.

“Is it really rape because you don’t know if she wanted to or not,” the teenager says on the video. “She might have wanted to. That might have been her final wish.”

Other male voices can be heard off-camera, laughing and talking about the alleged assault.

The New York Times reported that a cell phone photo from that night shows the girl naked on the floor, but that investigators were unable to retrieve any usable evidence from other phones seized during the investigation, the Times reported.

The attorney for the girl’s family told CNN that the girl is in counseling and is “doing as well as one can expect.”

“She’s trying to go about her life right now, which is difficult because of all the media attention,” said Robert Fitzsimmons. “It’s as if she’s just flown into this barnstorm. She’ll make it through.”

Attorneys for the suspects did not immediately return telephone messages left Thursday at their offices.

Steubenville police Chief William McCafferty told WTOV that he could not comment on the case as it was now in the hands of special prosecutors appointed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

DeWine told WTOV that the case is being aggressively prosecuted and remains under active investigation.

The parents of one teenager named on Goddard’s blog sued her for defamation and sought to have those who anonymously commented on the blog about the case publicly identified. The family has since dropped the lawsuit, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, Anonymous says it is collecting detailed information about the personal affairs of football boosters and others in the town of 18,000 who the group claims may have helped cover up the attack. It’s also planning a protest Saturday at Steubenville’s city hall “to help those who have been victimized by the football team or other regimes.”

The group has already hacked the website of the local football fansite and says it will release the information if people don’t come forward to help the investigation — something Steubenville’s police chief told the New York Times had frustrated him when he began investigating the case.

“If you could charge people for not being decent human beings, a lot of people could have been charged that night,” the Times quoted McCafferty as saying.

CNN’s Ross Levitt and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report

 

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