Witness cooperation urged in Steubenville football rape case
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer
1:06 PM, Jan 10, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Students withholding information about an alleged rape in Steubenville last summer are thwarting investigators, school officials said Thursday as they encouraged students to contact police if they know something.
The Steubenville school board is also expanding programs to raise further awareness of sexual harassment, bullying, date rape and substance abuse in the wake of the alleged incident in August in which two high school football players are accused of raping a 16-year-old girl.
The district is lining up training programs for faculty, staff, parents and students, with "targeted sessions" for all student-athletes.
"Going forward, we will expand these programs and involve the community with the goal of creating a meaningful dialogue about these difficult issues, how we can deal with them, and how we can prevent them," the board said in a statement.
The statement said officials were troubled to learn police were having difficulty getting cooperation from witnesses.
"By remaining silent, witnesses thwart the work of investigators which may ultimately prevent justice from being served," the statement said.
Earlier this week the district said it was placing unarmed guards at its buildings following a threat of violence that a student received on his Facebook page. The board said Thursday the guards would also be at all extracurricular events.
The district and city have been under scrutiny since the alleged attack over the summer and the arrests and charges against two players. Some question why other students weren't charged, and bloggers and hacker-activists have alleged a cover-up meant to protect the popular football program.
A judge determined after a lengthy hearing in October there was only enough evidence to charge the two students, one of whom is accused of raping the girl in a car, the other in the basement of a house.
At that hearing, a third student testified he took a video with his phone of the alleged attack in the car, while another student testified he took pictures with his phone of the alleged attack in the basement.
oth testified they deleted the images within hours. Prosecutors said at the hearing that the two would have been charged had those images been found.