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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Steubenville Rape Case: Tuesday Updates

As I observed in my piece at The Nation last week, I have been watching the controversy and outrage over the sexual assualts and alleged coverup in Steubenville, Ohio,  for weeks, partly because my wife's family lives nearbym and I have visited that city many times.   Here were my Monday updates,  with Tuesday's below.

8:20  USA Today with new piece on judge, in Cincinnati area, who will preside over the trial starting Feb. 13, if not postponed.  As we know, he got appointed after locals begged out.  Trial could be moved to Cincy but not necessarily.  Did not know he had already turned down one request to close it to the public when it does happen.  Story notes his long career in juvenile justice but unclear what other markers to look for. 

7:00  Fraternal Order of Police in Steubenville dropped its phone solicitation company after a woman reported call for donation in which man on the line referred to rape case and IDed school that victim attends and other info... AP reports that schools chief in Steubenville has ordered armed guards to four buildings to make students feel safer.  This came before today's lockdown after a bogus threat was posted on Facebook--or so a student said.

4:35  Over the past few days, we have carried several links to  Alexander Abad-Santos at Atlantic Wire.  Now he's out with a lengthy original bit of reporting that includes a detailed interview with the alleged Anonymous figure behind the LocalLeaks site--as well as probing the charted and uncharted waters of the alleged "gambling ring" run by the local sheriff (a little surprising to see this much of unproven material at The Atlantic,  I must say).  Read it all here.

If this interview is accurate, we learn that LocalLeaks editor is based abroad, with staffers and volunteers, and an attorney, there and elsewhere, and with surprising difficulties in storing data and tips and having to use a wall--not unlike Homeland's Carrie Matheson--to track the tips, rather than a software program.

4:10 p.m. Full raw video of local TV interview with @KYanonymous posted.  He attacks those making threats against school and students, denies any hacking that broke law, reports rumor that someone's trying to sell one video for $5000, and more.  "We are a peaceful people" and against all
"vigilantism." 

3:15  Megan Carpentier  at The Guardian with op ed, on his this case exposes the "cruelty" faced by rape survivors.

3:00 p.m  Lengthy Q & A at Huff Post with Anonymous "editor in chief" of the LocalLeaks files on the case.  

12:30  p.m.  Poynter collects and links to a few different views of the difficulties the media face in covering the case due to mixed feelings about role of Anonymous and other issues.... Meanwhile that widely-posted and infographic on rapes, unreported rapes, and false accusations deeply questioned today.

9:40  All Steubenville schools in lockdown this morning, their first ever.  Superintendent "said police told him there was some type of shooting threat made on social media. He was informed by police about the threat around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.  McVey initially told NEWS9 over the phone that the threat was geared toward Harding Middle School, and later said it the threat was made against an unspecified building in the district."  UPDATE:  Lockdown lifted about 10 a.m.

9:05 a.m.  Former guardians of one of defendants, Ma'Lik Richmond, say on Today show they still support him and he's getting bad deal.  Richmond is again staying with them under house arrest.  The Agrestas sit with Matt Lauer and Richmond's attorney, Walter Madison.  Woman claims he was "surprised" when charged, "out of character" for him.    Lauer presses for what Richmond told them but they deflect, just say they support him no matter what.  When Lauer asks if they think he did anything wrong, they pause, and attorney jumps in to prevent any reply.  Madison again claims can't get fair trial. 

8:50 a.m. Over the weekend I covered Traci Lord tweeting that she had been raped (at age 10) in Steubenville when she was growing up there, and then covered her support for protests there and her appearance on Roseanne Barr's radio show.  Now The Daily Beast has a full piece about the actress.  “There’s no doubt in my mind that that experience really set the stage for me to go into porn and do all those things,” she said. “These are not things you start doing because everything is OK.”  She says her mother was raped in Steubenville, as well, and things are still very tough for women there.

8:40  #ShoutingBack hashtag finds women informing men about everyday harassment and insults. 

8:30  Ta-Nahisi Coates weighs in And Boston Globe columnist Joanna Weiss feels conflicted about Anonymous role but concludes:   "The fury that Anonymous has unleashed, after all, lays bare the problem with glorifying kids who happen to be good at throwing balls — and the problem with assuming that 'unconscious' is the same thing as 'consent.' Maybe the Steubenville case will prompt kids at high school and college parties to think twice about what they do and how they act. Maybe it will prompt parents and coaches to offer some sound and pointed advice. Maybe this will mark the moment when shame starts to outweigh glory. And maybe that’s when things will actually start to change."

Late Monday

8:00 p.m. CNN covering case tonight and AC leads off with it.  New evidnece put out by Ohio Attorney General today from "probable cause" hearing in October.  Quotes witness on girl "out of it" and assault on girl in backseat with witness videotaping (this has come out before). "Carried out" of party like in the now-famous photo.  Three witnesses testified then and cross-examined by defense attorneys--neither dispute that sexual acts took place but only that they were consenual.

Then Gary Tuchman talked to @KYAnonymous guy.  He appears on screen in mask in front of green "Anonymous" flag with voice scrambled. He defends putting evidence out and charging some guilty without trial.  Then student Ed Wilson goes on screen to say he had been IDed as being at party but denies it fully.  Another student, Atkins, claims two charged students not guilty for sure.

Then on to attorneys Jeff Toobin and Mark Geragos.  They are conflicted about Anonymous actions--"admirable" but "disturbing" as Geragos puts it.  Toobin things change of venue unlikely because juvenile court, just a judge and no jury.  Also, judge could seat courtroom. Toobin says "consent" will be key issue, of course. Geragos finally brings out the real key: girl could have been too drunk to give real "consent." Toobin wrongly says it may come down to "he said/she said" when in fact many witnesses and social media comments.


3 comments:

Karen Stubbs said...

Why do the males, attorneys, players, etc, continue to blame victim. This is Steubenvilles problem in focus, blame women for rape. We have seen the videos, pictures and tweets posted by these young men associated with Big Red. We have seen the response from coaches, law enforcement, boosters parents. Steubenville has a corruption problem that can be seen from space.

Laurence Glavin said...

Noted in passing (in case Current TV passes away with no warning): "The Young Turks" on Current TV did ten minutes or so on the Steubenville story Monday night, consisting of a backgrounder, interview and a bit of a commentary. It's interesting that Elliot Spitzer has withdrawn from his show, but Cenk Uygur continues to appear there for now, although he promotes the "TYT" website more than he used to. (An hour later, John Fugelsang actually uttered the name KEITH!)

Michael said...

Thank you for great coverage, and providing "push back" on attorney lies.

I was disappointed numerous time when Anderson Cooper & others didn't counter attorneys claims on consent.

The testimony from the preliminary hearing on October 12 makes it quite clear she was not conscious and could not consent.