Grand jury begins questioning in rape investigation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A grand jury started examining evidence and hearing from witnesses in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players after an alcohol-fueled party last summer.

The 14-person panel which by law meets secretly is investigating whether other laws were broken in connection with the August attack in Steubenville in eastern Ohio.
One of the questions before the grand jury, which began its work on Tuesday, is likely to be whether adults like coaches or school administrators may have known about the rape allegation but failed to report it.

School superintendent Mike McVey has previously acknowledged that he, other administrators and head football coach Reno Saccoccia were interviewed by investigators in the days leading up to the March trial.

Text messages introduced at trial indicated that Saccoccia may have known about the allegation but didn’t report it, which if true would violate Ohio law requiring coaches and others to report suspected abuse.

“We have been from the beginning and are continuing to fully cooperate with the authorities in this investigation,” the Steubenville school board said in a statement.
The owners of a home where a photo was taken of the girl being carried by the two boys later convicted of raping her have also been interviewed by investigators.

That home is the same place a 12-minute cellphone video was filmed of a former student laughing and making crude jokes about the victim and the attack.

A judge convicted the teens in March of raping the Weirton, W.Va., girl after the party, once in a moving car, the second time in the basement of a house. The boys were sentenced to one- and two-year terms in the juvenile system.

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