A county sheriff under fire for how he has handled a high school rape investigation faced down a raucous crowd of protesters on Saturday and said no further suspects would be charged in a case that has rattled Ohio football country.
‘Shielding the popular football program’
Ma’lik Richmond and Trenton Mays, both 16 and members of the Steubenville High School football team, are charged with raping a 16-year-old fellow student at a party last August, according to statements from their attorneys.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, accused of shielding the popular football program from a more rigorous investigation, told reporters no one else would be charged in the case, just moments after he addressed about 1,000 protesters gathered in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Abdalla declined to take the investigation over from Steubenville police, sparking more public outrage.
‘Joking about an assault’
The case shot to national prominence this week when Anonymous made public a picture of the purported rape victim being carried by her wrists and ankles by two young men. Anonymous also released a video that showed several other young men joking about an assault. The protest’s masked leader, standing atop a set of stairs outside the courthouse doors, invited up to the makeshift stage anyone who was a victim of sexual assault. Protesters immediately flooded the platform, which was slightly smaller than a boxing ring.
Abdalla then climbed the stairs himself and addressed the protest over a microphone. He said he had dedicated his 28-year career to combating sexual assault, overseeing the arrest of more than 200 suspects. Clad in a teal ribbon symbolizing support for sexual assault victims, Abdalla later told Reuters that he stood by his decision to leave the investigation with local police. He would have had to question all 59 people that the Steubenville Police Department had already interviewed in its original investigation, he said.
Do you think there is a cover up going on here to protect the schools’ football program? Should County Sheriff Fred Abdalla step down from his position?
Source: Drew Singers, Reuters, Yahoo News
Image: Beaumont Enterprises