The War on Women Continues in Ohio

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

Last week we read Prof. Turley’s article concerning a bill proposed in New Mexico that attempts to make it unlawful for a rape victim to have an abortion because it would be akin to destroying the “evidence” of the rape claim.  While that bill is an insult to women and right thinking men everywhere, I submit that it is further evidence that the longest “war” on record, is still going strong in this country.  One of the most controversial examples of how women in general and rape victims in particular,  can be turned into the criminals by the public and even the police and prosecution is the case of an alleged gang rape in August, 2012,  in Steubenville, Ohio.

The victim was a 16-year-old girl who after passing out at a party from drinking and/or date rape drugs was allegedly repeatedly raped and abused by members of the Steubenville Big Red football team. The details of what the victim endured are both heartbreaking and disgusting.  I apologize in advance for the lurid details, but they are necessary to fully understand how egregious the attacks were and how egregious the post crime attacks on the victim and her family were.

“Across the river, in a well-kept two-story colonial house in a solidly middle-class West Virginia neighborhood, the 16-year-old girl told her parents that she was going to a sleepover at a friend’s house that night. She then headed off to those parties, too.  She is not a Steubenville High student; she attended a smaller, religion-based school, where she was an honor student and an athlete.

At the parties, the girl had so much to drink that she was unable to recall much from that night, and nothing past midnight, the police said. The girl began drinking early on, according to an account that the police pieced together from witnesses, including two of the three Steubenville High athletes who testified in court in October. By 10 or 10:30 that night, it was clear that the dark-haired teenager was drunk because she was stumbling and slurring her words, witnesses testified.

Some people at the party taunted her, chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her, one witness testified.  About two hours later, the girl left the party with several Big Red football players, including Mays and Richmond, witnesses said. They stayed only briefly at a second party before leaving for their third party of the night. Two witnesses testified that the girl needed help walking. One testified that she was carried out of the house by Mays and Richmond while she was “sleeping.”

She woke up long enough to vomit in the street, a witness said, and she remained there alone for several minutes with her top off. Another witness said Mays and Richmond were holding her hair back.  Afterward, they headed to the home of one football player who has now become a witness for the prosecution. That player told the police that he was in the back seat of his Volkswagen Jetta with Mays and the girl when Mays proceeded to flash the girl’s breasts and penetrate her with his fingers, while the player videotaped it on his phone. The player, who shared the video with at least one person, testified that he videotaped Mays and the girl “because he was being stupid, not making the right choices.” He said he later deleted the recording.

The girl “was just sitting there, not really doing anything,” the player testified. “She was kind of talking, but I couldn’t make out the words that she was saying.”  At that third party, the girl could not walk on her own and vomited several times before toppling onto her side, several witnesses testified. Mays then tried to coerce the girl into giving him oral sex, but the girl was unresponsive, according to the player who videotaped Mays and the girl.

The player said he did not try to stop it because “at the time, no one really saw it as being forceful.”  At one point, the girl was on the ground, naked, unmoving and silent, according to two witnesses who testified. Mays, they said, had exposed himself while he was right next to her.  Richmond was behind her, with his hands between her legs, penetrating her with his fingers, a witness said.”  New York Times

It is hard to imagine that anyone could see these details and view the online videos and not be disgusted and not feel for the victim and her family.  However, in Steubenville, Ohio the victim and her family have been attacked while many in the community have backed the alleged perpetrators.  You have heard the comments before.  She lured them into repeatedly abusing her at several public parties and in the back seat of a car.  What was she wearing that caused this reaction by our boys?

While repeating that these young men are innocent until proven guilty, what is extremely upsetting to me is the way the coaches and townspeople have attacked the young women and her family and anyone else who has come out against the alleged perpetrators.  It is also alleged that the police and a local prosecutor may have tried to dissuade the victim and her parent from pressing charges.

“Jane Hanlin is a Jefferson County prosecutor and is also a member of the school board and her son was a member of the football team.  “When the family of the victim went to file the charges, Jane Hanlin was present. She strongly discouraged them from filing. Hanlin frightened not only the victim, but the parents as well. Telling them that her name was going to be dragged through the mud, she will be in and out of court for well over two years, the press wouldn’t leave any of the family alone once the crime was made public. Scared out of their wits, the parents said they didn’t want that and Hanlin then said not to worry just leave it up to her and the detectives on the case.”  Radionewz.net

I ask you to imagine what the outcry would have been if the alleged victim had been a boy and had been beaten and probed with fingers and allegedly urinated on?  Is this evidence of the need for the Violence Against Women Act that has languished in Congress?  Do you think that 16 year football players who allegedly abused and carried the unconscious young women to multiple public locations to continue their alleged abuse should be charged as juveniles?  Why won’t more of the students at the parties in Steubenville that night cooperate with authorities to allow them to get to the truth?  Do communities give too much deference to athletes at their schools?  This is a very sad case that, in my opinion, evidences the continuing battle women have in getting justice in assault and rape cases.  What do you think? (Revised)

Additional sources: politicususa.com;Ms.Magazine;Local leaks.blog

42 thoughts on “The War on Women Continues in Ohio”

  1. AP.
    thanks for the links. Especially the ones about Hanlin. She never addresses the conflict of her original part in the investigation and prosecution. As AY has stated, she should have stepped away from day one. She was also a school board member at the time!

  2. “Alexandria Goddard, a 45-year-old Web analyst who once lived in Steubenville and writes about national crime on a blog, heard about the case early on and rushed to investigate it herself. She told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in September that she did so because she had little faith that the authorities would do a thorough job.” -New York Times (link provided in article, above)

    Alexandria Goddard, a 45-year-old Web analyst who once lived in Steubenville and writes about national crime on a blog, heard about the case early on and rushed to investigate it herself. She told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in September that she did so because she had little faith that the authorities would do a thorough job.

    http://prinniefied.com (Alexandria Goddard’s blog)

    From the NY Times link:

    Excerpt:

    Taking Sides on Blogs

    Alexandria Goddard, a 45-year-old Web analyst who once lived in Steubenville and writes about national crime on a blog, heard about the case early on and rushed to investigate it herself. She told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in September that she did so because she had little faith that the authorities would do a thorough job.

    Before many of the partygoers could delete their posts, photographs or videos, she took screen shots of them, posting them on her site, Prinniefied.com. On Aug. 24, just after the arrests, she wrote on her site that it was “a slam dunk case” because, she said, Mays and Richmond videotaped and photographed their crime and then posted those images on the Web. Goddard pressed her case.

    “What normal person would even consider that posting the brutal rape of a young girl is something that should be shared with their peers?” she wrote. “Do they think because they are Big Red players that the rules don’t apply to them?”

    She cited by name several current and former Steubenville athletes, accusing them of having a criminal role in the suspected assault by failing to stop it and then disseminating photographs of it. According to court documents, Goddard responded to a comment that read, “Students by day … gang rape participants by night” by writing that the football coach should be ashamed of letting players linked to the incident remain on the field. In another post, she added, “Why aren’t more kids in jail. They all knew.”

    Of the Big Red athletes who were with Mays and Richmond that night, she said: “No, you are not stars. You are criminals who are walking around right now on borrowed time.”

    Anonymous commenters on her blog took aim at Steubenville High, its football coaching staff and the local police for not disciplining more players or making more arrests in connection with the rape accusation. On another site, Change.org, a person started a petition demanding that the school and the coach publicly apologize to the girl. The petition also asked that the Steubenville schools superintendent admit that there was a “rape culture and excessive adulation of male athletes” at Steubenville High.

    In a day, 100 people signed the petition, and 169 signed before no more signatures were accepted.

    Around town, the discussion of what might have happened that night in August raged, growing more heated by the day. The accusations on Goddard’s blog, posted by Goddard and others, sparked more debate. The local newspaper, The Herald-Star, ran a letter to the editor from Joe Scalise, a Steubenville resident, who criticized the blogger’s site, saying it “has lent itself to character assassination and has begun to resemble a lynch mob.”

    Even without much official public information about the night, some people in town are skeptical of the police account, like Nate Hubbard, a Big Red volunteer coach.

    As he stood in the shadow of Harding Stadium, where he once dazzled the crowd with his runs, Hubbard gave voice to some of the popular, if harsh, suspicions.

    “The rape was just an excuse, I think,” said the 27-year-old Hubbard, who is No. 2 on the Big Red’s career rushing list.

    “What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that?” said Hubbard, who is one of the team’s 19 coaches. “She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.”

    There is no shortage of people who believe the opposite. They absolutely accept the account of sexual assault, and are weary of what they call the protection and indulgence afforded the football team. That said, more than a dozen people interviewed last month who were critical of the football team and its protected status, real or perceived, did not want their names used in connection with comments about the team, for fear of retribution from Big Red football fans.

    One man said he wanted to see the accused boys go to prison, but insisted that he remain anonymous because he did not want his house to be a target for vandalism.

    Bill Miller, a painter who played for Big Red in the 1980s, said the coach was to blame because he was too lenient with players regarding bad behavior off the field.

    “There’s a set of rules that don’t apply to everybody,” he said of what he called the favoritism regarding the players. “This has been happening since the early ’80s; this is nothing new. It’s disgusting. I can’t stand it. The culture is not what it should be. It’s not clean.”

    Others attacked Goddard, the crime blogger, for her commentary regarding what she called the town’s twisted football culture and its special treatment of football players, including a player who is suing her for defamation. As part of the legal action against her by the player and his family, the court has allowed the family’s lawyers to seek the identities of those people who disparaged the player by name on the blog. The player has not been charged with any crime.

    Goddard, who has not been located by the court so it can serve her with a copy of the complaint, did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment. She remains active on her blog.

    Goddard’s lawyers, Thomas G. Haren and Jeffrey M. Nye, said that their client was a journalist whose work was protected by the First Amendment.

    “This case strikes at the heart of the freedom of speech and of the press,” they said in a statement. “We intend to see those constitutional guarantees vindicated at the end of the day.”

  3. Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin, who recused herself months ago from the on-going Steubenville teen rape investigation is releasing a statement on the national buzz involved in the case. -from the following article

    Posted: 7:44 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013

    Jefferson Co. Prosecutor releases statement on investigation

    http://www.wtov9.com/news/news/local/jefferson-co-prosecutor-releases-statement-investi/nTnmG/

    By NEWS9

    Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin, who recused herself months ago from the on-going Steubenville teen rape investigation is releasing a statement on the national buzz involved in the case.

    Hanlin said to NEWS9, “My ethical duties as a prosecutor prohibit me from discussing the details of the case involving allegations of rape against two local juveniles until the matter has been resolved in court. Once the court proceedings have concluded, I will be able to answer any questions the public may have and I have promised to do so. All allegations that me or my son or my home are involved in any way whatsoever in this criminal matter are 100% false. None of the alleged events occurred at my home. My son was not present at any time while the victim was alleged to have been unconscious, photographed, videotaped or sexually assaulted. Any statement to the contrary is 100% false.”

  4. More on Hanlin:

    Hanlin named county prosecutor

    March 9, 2011
    By MARK LAW, staff writer

    http://www.heraldstaronline.com/page/content.detail/id/555776/Hanlin-named-county-prosecutor.html?nav=5010

    Excerpts:

    Jane Hanlin was unanimously appointed Jefferson County prosecutor Tuesday after a meeting of the Jefferson County Democratic Party Central Committee.

    Thomas Straus, who was prosecutor since 2004, retired on Feb. 28.

    Hanlin, who is the county’s first female prosecutor, was to take her oath of office at 11:30 a.m. today administered by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr.

    …..

    Hanlin will serve as county prosecutor through the end of 2012 but will have to run for election next year.

    Hanlin said she will maintain her private family law practice. Under Ohio law, a county prosecutor can give up his or her private practice and the pay as prosecutor is more. Hanlin will receive less pay as county prosecutor, a move she says will save the taxpayers money. Straus gave up his private practice when he was first elected.

    Hanlin said her biggest goal as prosecutor will be to work with law enforcement throughout the county.

    “That will be my biggest focus – improving relations with law enforcement. The success of the prosecutor’s office only comes with cooperation with law enforcement. They put a lot of effort into catching criminals. Our job is to work with them to successfully prosecute the criminals.”

    Straus and county Democratic Party Chairman John Abdalla both recommended Hanlin for the appointment. Frank Bruzzese, county Democratic Party vice chairman, nominated Hanlin during the central committee’s meeting Tuesday. The vote of the central committee was unanimous.

    Abdalla said Hanlin has tried more than half of all felony cases through the prosecutor’s office during the past six years, and she has a 100 percent conviction rate.

    Abdalla said all of Hanlin’s convictions have resulted in substantial prison terms, which have been upheld on appeal all the way up to the Ohio Supreme Court.

    “Jane Hanlin takes the bad guys to trial and then shows them the prison door. That makes her perfect for the job,” Abdalla said.

    Hanlin received her law degree from Duquesne University.

    1. AP,

      As a county prosecutor they (she) over sees juvenile neglect, spousal abuse, fraud, adultery etc… Plus misdemeanor and felony charges….. All that could occur within any family law case…. Is this woman… A democrat too boot that stupid that she doesn’t see conflict written all over her choice…. Is Ohioan law that archaic that they allow justice to sit as a witness while brining forth the criminal indictments…..

  5. rafflaw wrote:
    I agree that the town’s history or status quo is threatened, but that can’t be an excuse for the alleged illegal activity.
    ~+~
    Couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, I would say it is even more reason to investigate the illegal activity to stop this kind of coverup from happening again.

  6. Raff, bron….

    What irks me the most about this story is the prosecutor has a duty to uphold and prosecute the ba$tard$. Since her son is on the team she has an apparent conflict. She beefed up the case not to prosecute because the team is probably as stated the entitled entity that makes them exempt from prosecution….. She should be grieved and hung out to dry….

    She should have recused herself, gotten the attorney general involved and had the state police investigate….

    This year I have read about 5 championship college teams kicking players off….for violating criminal laws… Even texas sent it QB home for an incident a day before the bcs….

  7. Darren,
    I agree that the town’s history or status quo is threatened, but that can’t be an excuse for the alleged illegal activity.
    Gene,
    Thanks for the correction. I have made the revision!

  8. For the record, I don’t want to convey any support of any of the alleged acts or suspects.

    I don’t know much about the culture of this town involved but in many small towns the high school football teams are like heros and much local identity is transferred to these teams. It almost takes a kind of protection ring where townspeople who would otherwise defend their own child if accused of wrong doing would also include these football players.

    It also might be a case of not wanting to accept that this event happened. If the townspeople who supported the suspects were successful in making this go away, that would be their preference. They often rationalize what they declare to be the “minor” nature of the offense and / or they attack the victim.

    I know this is a sign of an unacceptable treatment of women in general but in my view the underlying cause of this problem is the blind hometown support of these atheletes.

    But there is an underlying cause of even this. It is the legacy of high school sports worship and family associations that can interfere with education and fairness.

    Using my experiences as an example, I grew up in a small town that bordered on a rural area. The culture of the town, which lasted until probably the early 80’s was that families who were prominent names from the past carried much favor, especially in the schools. They were given more opportunities than others either in business or voices in the community. Individuals who were in football and of these families were provided with a lot of deferance if they misbehaved.

    Culturally in this town a lot of parents, who grew up there, still hold their male children to a standard that they must succeed in sports to bring the parents back into , or remain part of this community stratification. And the problem continues. It then begins to affect political decision making, which the criminal law enforcement is often intertwined.

    What does remain in this town is the clique nature of it. The town suffers from patronage and nepotism on a low level but very wide base. The approach then is modeled into other areas like certain businesses or social organizations there. Essentially in those affected organizations those who were born and raised in the town, and even more so with those who came from certain families, were given more opportunities and those who did not fit this caste were outcast or ignored.

    So in that given envirnoment going after what in this blog’s example is these alleged high school atheletes who rape the status quo of the community is perceived to be threatened and it becomes a personal issue with them, blinding them from accepting that justice that should be pursued.

    This is why I am much more in favor of following the law and the constitution instead of the rule of men. The law should be neutral and fair because rule by men is usually not. The law is simple, (IF Rape THEN Enforce_Law) it is devoid (hopefully) getting involved in politics and crafting the rules or the proceedures to support certain ideas or individuals. Imagine if laws of nature were subject to modification by politics.

    When I ended my LE career, I moved out of my home town and I have totally no interest in returning there, and especially neither does my wife. The cliques and the politics were enough for a lifetime.

    I hope that despite this girl can find some kind of solace in her future though it would be difficult in her endeavours. The town she lives in deserves whatever disrespect it earned for itself. Hopefully it wil suffer some consequences for its actions.

  9. Well . . . that’s completely revolting. It also makes one wonder what role the “sports entitlement” culture played in this episode.

  10. AY,
    the problem is not just with the allegations concerning the prosecutor. A good portion of the entire town is back “their boys” and making outrageous comments about the female victim. The coaches and police are suspect in this as well. Take a look at the additional reference source title Local Leaks. It includes since deleted twitter comments and information concerning all of the people involved in this ongoing disaster. But it is happening across the country, not just Steubenville.

  11. Females in the US are 3rd class entities; let alone how irrelevant they become when they are no longer fecund. It is institutionalized depravity.

  12. AY/rafflaw:

    just a woman protecting her son. She should have recused herself and let the chips fall where they may.

    If I was her, I would be wondering what kind of child I was raising.

  13. Larry,

    I did, I am aghast. Conflict is written all over this. You title it Ohios war on women. It’s a woman with a conflict practicing as a prosecutor…. That’s reprehensible ….. Now if it had been a male… I think the title would be more fair…. But who said she’s not a women with an agenda….

  14. AY,
    I was shocked with the prosecutor’s alleged entanglements. If you read some of the sources, she is alleged to have even more reason to back the alleged perps.

  15. I am just aghast of the prosecutors response. Do you smell conflict… And she and yes I said she can’t understand normal thinking…. She needs a new line if work….

  16. paul,
    Unfortunately, the law is not on your side. By the way,isn’t it a crime and a sin to attack young women against their will? Whose body is it?
    You are right Bron.

  17. Some would say that “abortion of any kind is war on the innocent unborn” “what did they do to deserve getting a hole poked in their head and have their brains sucked out??” Some would say that.

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