The City of Steubenville and the Steubenville Police Department in Jefferson County, Ohio launched a website, “Steubenville Facts,” in response to “The Steubenville Files” site published by the vigilante hacker group, Anonymous. The so-called “hacktivists” created a page on their LocalLeaks blog to expose what they say is wide-spread corruption and cover-up in the case of a teen girl who was allegedly kidnapped and brutally attacked by Steubenville high school football players.
According to the Steubenville Files, a group of football players from Big Red High School, who call themselves the “Rape Crew,” drugged a 15-year-old girl and sodomized her in the backseat of a vehicle before carrying her unconscious from party to party, allowing her to be gang-raped, and ultimately dropping her unconscious body on her parents’ front lawn, where she was allegedly urinated on by one or more of the boys.
Anonymous’ website displays screencaps of revolting Twitter and Instagram posts, where the boys seemingly boasted of their actions. There is also a 12-minute video from the night of the attack, wherein one boy, who is now 18, gleefully describes the girl as “deader than Caylee Anthony” and says the boys “raped her more than the Duke lacrosse team.”
Anonymous — who recently used its collective powers against the Westboro Baptist Church after members announced plans to demonstrate at the funerals of Newtown Massacre victims, along with exposing cyber-bullies connected to the suicide of teenager Amanda Todd — also lays out on their website details of alleged cover-up of the crimes by everyone from the high school football coach to the County Sheriff and the prosecuting attorney.
The LocalLeak site has gone viral and garnered wide-spread public attention to the Steubenville case, bringing an intense spotlight on the small town of 18,000.
On the occasion of the second “Occupy Steubenville” protest rally, the city and police department announce their own website they say will “disseminate the most accurate information” about the case. Among the many categories of clarification on “Steubenville Facts,” the site makes the following statement:
“Nothing in Ohio’s criminal statutes makes it a crime for someone to ridicule a rape victim on a video or otherwise say horrible things about another person. Further, nothing in the law allows someone who says repugnant things on Twitter, Facebook, or other Internet sites to be criminally charged for such statements. Steubenville Police investigators are caring humans who recoil and are repulsed by many of the things they observe during an investigation. Like detectives in every part of America and the world, they are often frustrated when they emotionally want to hold people accountable for certain detestable behavior but realize that there is no statute that allows a criminal charge to be made.”
The site also provides a timeline of the investigation surrounding the case, which so far has netted juvenile charges against Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, who are currently under house arrest. The young man in the video has not been charged, despite what Anonymous claims is a videotaped admission of the man’s involvement in the kidnapping and rape of the young victim.