The Child Molestation Prevention Plan

September 17, 2013

A Fact
Today, at least two out of every ten little girls and at least one out of every ten little boys are victims of a sexual abuser. That can change. We now have the power to stop the abusers who commit 95 percent of the sex acts against our children. We know who this abuser is, where to find him (or her), which children are most at risk, and how to protect them.

Your Opportunity To Save Children

“The Child Molestation Prevention Plan” explains the basic facts about child sexual abuse and presents a plan to protect children from molestation. In it you will learn:

- the definitions of child molester and child molestation;
– the damage caused by child sexual abuse;
– the characteristics of a child molester;
– the four general causes of child sexual abuse and the one cause responsible for 95 percent of all acts;
– how to identify and treat the single greatest cause early – before there is a victim;
– why The Child Molestation Prevention Plan will work.

The Child Molestation Prevention Plan

1. Tell others the facts.
Tell your family and friends:

The abusers who commit 95 percent of the sex acts against children are driven by an ongoing sex drive directed toward children.
We can identify the development of this disorder early – during the teenage years and even younger.
Some people with an ongoing sex drive directed toward children are not yet child molesters because they’ve never acted on their disorder.
We can drastically reduce most child sexual abuse by following a three-step plan that’s been proven successful in conquering other public health problems.
More…

2. Focus on the cause: an ongoing sex drive directed toward children.
We can place abusers into four groups separated by what causes them to sexually abuse a child.
Of the four general causes of child molestation, the one that leads to the greatest number of victims is the disorder that involves an ongoing sex drive directed toward children.
By focusing prevention efforts on the single greatest cause of child sexual abuse, we can protect the greatest number of children in the shortest amount of time.
More…

3. Act: diagnose early. Use tests, medicines, and sex-specific therapies.
An ongoing sex drive directed toward children can be diagnosed by a sex-specific specialist. These specialists use objective tests, medicines, and specialized cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques that directly reduce or extinguish a sex drive directed toward children.
More…

Child Molestation and Public Health

Is child molestation a public health problem? It qualifies on two counts: damage to health and numbers of victims. Sexually abusing a child endangers that child’s physical and emotional health. And, unfortunately, the number of victimized children is in the millions.

In the history of the world, only one strategy has worked to conquer a public health problem: Focus on the cause.

That’s the Child Molestation Prevention Plan’s Step Two. What health professionals have always done that worked is to first find out what causes the disease or disorder. Then, they work to devise something – a vaccine, a therapy, a medication, a nutritional change – that will stop that cause.

Child sexual abuse has four broad categories of cause. Here again, we follow a well-known and successful strategy: Save the greatest number of victims in the shortest possible time. To do this, we ask the classic medical question: Which one cause, if we could eliminate it tomorrow, would drastically reduce the number of victims? Here we are lucky, because the cause that leads to 95 percent of the sex acts against our children has already been discovered: an ongoing sex drive directed toward children. If we could stop our older children, the ones who live ordinary lives in ordinary families, from developing this disorder, the number of child victims would plummet.

The Child Molestation Prevention Plan’s Step One – Telling Others the Facts – is equally proven and equally important. Once medical professionals know what causes a disease or disorder, once they single out the major cause, the next question is: How do we get people to do what is needed to rid our country of this problem? How will they learn the facts? How can we convince them to act on the facts? And at what speed?

We know that preventing child sexual abuse will be difficult because it demands that all of us talk about child sexual abuse to friends and relatives who may know none of the facts but may already have their minds set in concrete. Convinced they know all they need to know, they may have decided they don’t want to hear anything about child molestation.

So that is our challenge. Can you learn the important facts presented on these pages and can you tell them to your family, friends, and people in your community? By doing so you will increase public awareness of the solution to child sexual abuse and be part of creating a sexual abuse free environment for all of the children in your family, neighborhood, and community.

www.childmolestationprevention.org


Fifth boy alleges sex abuse by former Minnesota sheriff’s deputy

September 13, 2013

130723054713_aaron%20heuer%20mug%20shot%201280FERGUS FALLS, Minn. – Authorities have charged a former Mille Lacs County deputy with two new felony counts of molesting a child, the fifth child he is charged with sexually abusing.

Aaron Joseph Heuer, of Isle, was charged Monday in Otter Tail County District Court with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13, and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13.

Jill Oliveira, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said the alleged incidents of inappropriate sexual contact happened in May and June 2009 with a boy who was then 9 years old, both at Heuer’s home and at Lutheran Island Camp in Henning in Otter Tail County.

According to court documents filed with the charges, the boy’s mother, who is a friend of Heuer’s, reported to law enforcement officials that her son had spent a lot of time with Heuer a few years back, going to camp and on fishing trips.

The mother reported she and her son were watching TV and saw a report on the news about the prior child sex charges filed against Heuer. She asked her son if anything had happened, and he began to cry, court records state.

She asked her son what had happened, and he responded, “What do you think, the same thing that happened to the other kids.”

According to court records, the mother told officers she thought it was strange that her son did not want to be present three months earlier when Heuer came over for dinner. The boy went to a relative’s home instead.

Kanabec County Sheriff’s Detective Bill Swan met with the boy, who provided physical details of the alleged molestation, which involved Heuer touching the child and Heuer making the boy touch him and perform a sex act on him.

The boy told Swan the molestation had happened often in Heuer’s bedroom and in one incident at camp. The child also said that he tries not to think about the incidents and doesn’t remember everything, and he does not exactly recall the dates, according to the criminal complaint.

In July, Heuer was charged with molesting four boys ages 8 to 10 when he was volunteering as a fishing guide at the camp in Henning and also when he took two of the boys on a separate, unrelated fishing trip in Aitkin County. All of the children knew Heuer before the incidents.

Heuer was with the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office for six years before he was terminated in July, according to Oliveira. He is being held in the Otter Tail County Jail.

Story Credit:  Duluth News Tribune


Detroit man beaten after neighbors say he raped a down sydrome teen, cite slow police response

September 2, 2013

(CNN) — Citing inaction by city police, some residents in a Detroit neighborhood attacked and beat a man they suspected of raping a teenage girl.

Authorities confirm they investigated a reported rape in July, that the alleged victim — a 15-year-old girl with Down syndrome — was taken to a hospital and evidence was collected, including a rape kit.

Authorities also confirm that processing in the case was delayed in the days and weeks after the alleged incident. Despite questioning of a man identified by the girl’s family and area residents as the suspect, no charges have been filed.

On August 5 — more than two weeks after the alleged rape was reported — some residents of the Hubbard Farms neighborhood in southwestern Detroit decided they weren’t going to wait for police and prosecutors to act.

They recognized the man — a resident of the area — from handbills posted around the neighborhood that included the man’s picture, and some residents went into action, chasing the man when he ran and hitting him with blows that including baseball bat strikes to the knees.

While only a few residents took part in the beating, sentiment was strong that the man was a threat to the community and that police were not proceeding on the rape case, according to resident Angel Garza, also known by his artist name, Anjoe Block.

“It was way too long for (authorities) to do something. All we wanted to do was get him away from our neighborhood,” said Garza, who did not participate in the incident involving the man, but told CNN he knew people who did.

Garza, an artist, had taken to Facebook to grab community attention, posting online the neighborhood flier that identified the man by name and picture, and that said in all-capital letters the man “HAS RAPED A YOUNG … WOMAN IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD … PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS MAN IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.”

The physical condition and whereabouts of the man, who had been arrested and released by police before the beating, could not be determined Tuesday. He has not been charged Tuesday.

The 15-year-old alleged victim is with her family and is getting support from relatives and neighbors, according to a family friend.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office confirmed that the alleged rape was reported to police on July 17.

Police sent crews to the crime scene and took in evidence. But then processing of the rape kit was delayed, according to Jerome Warfield, a member of Detroit’s civilian commission that oversees police.

Detroit police e-mails reveals weight, bra sizes of female officers

The community learned of the incident from a family member’s post on the community list-serve. An e-mail by the relative of the alleged victim outlined the incident, gave purported details about the man, and told how the family tried to contact police.

Police issued an arrest warrant request on July 30, 13 days after the alleged rape, according to the Wayne County prosecutor’s office. The man named on the neighborhood flier was taken into custody and questioned, but police could not formally charge him because the prosecutor’s office didn’t sign off on the warrant, according to Warfield.

The man was then released.

A few days later, the beating occurred.

People in the community simply believe that law enforcement is not acting in any expedient way in the case, according to Garza.

A spokesman for the Detroit Police Department told CNN this week, “We are aware of the situation.”

“This is an ongoing investigation. We cannot confirm any details,” said Sgt. Eren Stephens of the department’s public information office.

Not everyone in the community approves of the vigilante action.

“So it’s OK to take the law into your own hands?” said one user on the community forum on Facebook. “And the people who beat him up weren’t arrested?”

“When are they going to arrest the people that beat him like they did,” said another user on the forum. “They are every bit as guilty as they believe he is.”

According to a case record in the Wayne County Probate Court, the man is 43 years old and described as “an individual with a developmental disability.”

“Because the victim and suspect, being significantly handicapped, there are rules and guidelines that we have to follow that we cannot treat the situation as a normal assault,” said Police Commissioner Warfield. “To that end, there is special questioning and steps to go through to make sure that their rights are protected. We are mandated by American Disabilities Act to take special precaution. That process can go a little bit slower.”

According to Warfield, the processing of the rape kit was delayed some seven to 10 days for unknown reasons.

“If there was anything that the police could have done better, it would’ve been issuing the rape kit more quickly,” said Warfield.

Detroit files for bankruptcy

Following the beating of the man last week, vandals painted the word RAPIST in large letters five times on an apartment building, just below the man’s unit, Warfield said.

They broke in and ransacked the man’s home, according to Warfield.

“I think people are hurt and scared, and certain people respond to that in an immediate and violent way,” said Megan Heeres, a close friend and longtime neighbor of the 15-year-old and her family. “But that’s not the response the family wants.”

Heeres said the family has been focusing on restorative justice more than anything, and helping the girl start living her life again. She said the victim is doing well with the support from her family.

“They want to see some changes from the Detroit Police Department. It hasn’t been about vigilante justice. There should be a clear-cut process or protocol when responding to sexual assault to minors, so people can feel secure that there’s movement (with their case),” said Heeres.

“It’s been such a tragedy,” said John Van Camp, president of Southwest Solutions, an agency involved in neighborhood revitalization, counseling services, and economic development in the community.

“I’ve known the victim and family for many years. We provided as much support as we could. The fact that it’s continuing to unfold is unfathomable.”

Van Camp believes since the situation is still unfolding, all parties, including the 15-year-old girl, the people within the community and the man who was beaten, have now all become victims.

Another police investigation is now under way for those responsible for beating the man and breaking into the home, according to Warfield.

No arrests have been made in the beating of the man and, “He has not been seen,” according to Garza.

“We do understand that the neighbors were enraged,” said Warfield. “Detroit police understand how this is emotional. But vigilantism cannot be accepted when you’re impeding upon somebody’s rights.”

Story from CNN.com


14-year-old rape victim commits suicide and rapist gets only 30 days for the crime.

August 29, 2013

charicecollagecrop(CNN) — Hundreds of protesters rallied at a Billings, Montana, courthouse Thursday, angry over what they call a lenient sentence for a man who admitted raping a 14-year-old girl who later killed herself.

The protest, organized in part by the National Organization for Women, called for Yellowstone County District Judge G. Todd Baugh to step down. Demonstrators also want a review of his prior caseload, a reporter from CNN affiliate KTVQ said.

Protesters waved signs. One read simply: “Resign.” Another said: “Justice 4 Cherice,” referring to the teenage victim, Cherice Moralez.

“The demand and goal of this is to ask the judge to resign. The broader message is to really unite as a community against victim-blaming,” said protest organizer Sheena Davis, adding that the protest aimed to address “a larger issue on how we protect children from rape in this justice system.”

So far, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition at MoveOn.org, demanding that Baugh resign.

Cherice’s mother is outraged that Stacey Dean Rambold, who admitted raping the girl while he was a teacher at her high school, received only a month in prison, whereas Cherice later took her own life.

As the calls for an appeal grow, the Montana attorney general’s office is reviewing the case.

The sentence was a travesty, the mother, Auliea Hanlon, told CNN.

“I was horrified. Horrified,” she said. “He broke the law, he confessed, and he got to walk away.”

Hanlon said she was particularly upset that Baugh said Cherice “seemed older than her chronological age” and was “as much in control of the situation” as the teacher.

“How could she be in control of the situation? He was a teacher. She was a student. She wasn’t in control of anything. She was 14,” she told CNN’s “New Day.”

Baugh apologized on Wednesday.

“I made some references to the victim’s age and control,” he told KTVQ. “I’m not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point, but it didn’t come out correct. What I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in and irrelevant to the sentencing.”

About the sentencing itself, Baugh said he would file an addendum to the case file to “better explain” his rationale.

Case details

The case began in 2008 when Cherice, then 14, was a student at Billings Senior High School and Rambold, then 49, was a teacher.

Hanlon claims Rambold’s “pre-sexual grooming” of her daughter led to the pair having sex.

School officials learned of the relationship, and Rambold resigned.

Later that year, authorities charged Rambold with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent.

“It’s not probably the kind of rape most people think about,” Baugh said. “It was not a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim rape, like you see in the movies. But it was nonetheless a rape. It was a troubled young girl, and he was a teacher. And this should not have occurred.”

As the case wound its way through the legal system, Cherice committed suicide. She was a few weeks shy of her 17th birthday.

“As a result of the sexual assault and its aftermath, (Cherice) experienced severe emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment and fell into irreversible depression that tragically led to her taking her own life on February 6, 2010,” Hanlon said in a complaint filed against Rambold.

Hanlon told CNN the relationship was to blame for her daughter’s death.

“Well, it definitely had something to do with it,” she said. “A teenager’s whole life is about school and their friends, and he turned everyone against her.”

NYC police: Teacher accused of raping 10-year-old student

The agreement

With Cherice’s death, the prosecution entered into what is known as a “deferred prosecution agreement” with Rambold.

This meant that all charges against Rambold would be dismissed if he completed a sex-offender treatment program and met other requirements. One of them was to have no contact with children.

Rambold admitted to one of the rape charges.

But the ex-teacher fell short of the agreement.

“He had some contacts with nieces and nephews in a family setting and other adults were present,” Baugh said.

He also had relationships with women that he didn’t tell his counselors about.

“That is a violation from his deferred prosecution so he was dropped from the plan.”

As a result, the case was revived in December 2012.

Canadian teen commits suicide after alleged rape

The hearing

At a hearing Monday, prosecutors asked the judge to send Rambold away for 20 years.

The defense argued that Rambold has suffered enough. His lawyers said he lost his career and his marriage and has the “scarlet letter of the Internet” due to the publicity surrounding the case, the Billings Gazette reported.

Baugh ruled that Rambold’s infractions weren’t serious enough.

“He made some violations of his treatment program,” he said. “They were more technical and not the kind you would send someone to prison for.”

He sentenced Rambold to 15 years in prison. Then, he suspended all but 31 days of the sentence, according to the Yellowstone County District Court.

In addition, the judge gave him credit for one day he spent in jail.

Incredulous at what had happened, Hanlon shouted at the court, “You people suck!”

“She wasn’t even old enough to get a driver’s license,” Hanlon said in a statement released by her attorney. “But Judge Baugh, who never met our daughter, justified the paltry sentence saying she was older than her chronological age. I guess somehow it makes a rape more acceptable if you blame the victim, even if she was only 14.”

Baugh has defended his ruling. He told CNN he believes Rambold is “treatable” and a “low risk to re-offend.”

Two videotaped interviews with Cherice — one with the police department and one with the defense attorney — were played in court, he said.

“She seemed older than her chronological age,” Baugh said. “Basically what we had was a troubled young girl.”

He added, “I simply did not have the evidence to conclude that her taking her life was because of her sexual offense by Mr. Rambold.”

Story from CNN.com


Boy Scouts To Release Sex Abuse Allegation Files After Order From California Supreme Court

March 26, 2013

GENERIC-BOY-SCOUTSLOS ANGELES — The Boy Scouts of America must release two decades of files detailing sexual abuse allegations after the California Supreme Court refused the organization’s bid to keep the records confidential.

A Santa Barbara County court ruled last year that the files must be turned over to attorneys representing a former Scout who claims a leader molested him in 2007, when he was 13. That leader later was convicted of felony child endangerment.

Last week, the state Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the Boy Scouts to halt the files’ release.

The former Scout’s lawsuit claims the files, which date to 1991 and involve allegations from across the nation, will expose a “culture of hidden sexual abuse” that the Scouts had concealed.

The Boys Scouts of America has denied the allegations and argued that the files should remain confidential to protect the privacy of child victims and of people who were wrongly accused.

“The BSA will comply fully with the order, but maintains that the files are not relevant to this suit” and won’t be made public unless used as evidence in the case, spokesman Deron Smith told the Los Angeles Times ( ). http://lat.ms/WqDUkK

It’s not clear how soon the files will become public. The documents are covered by a judge’s protective order and can’t be revealed until they become part of the open court record in the former Scout’s lawsuit.

“Our hands are tied, and we are forbidden to publicize the files,” Timothy Hale, an attorney for the former Scout, said in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

A pretrial conference is scheduled next week in Santa Barbara. Hale said lawyers for the two sides likely will discuss how long the Boy Scouts need to turn over the files and then how much review time he and his colleagues will need before the case can go to trial.

Hale surmised it could be fall or later before that happens. He urged the Scouts to turn over the files to law enforcement and publicly identify people accused of abuse.

The Boy Scouts kept internal files on alleged sexual abuse for nearly a century. Through other court cases, the Scouts were forced to reveal files dating from 1960 to 1991.

They detailed numerous cases where abuse claims were made and Boy Scout officials never alerted authorities and sometimes actively sought to protect the accused.

The organization has improved youth protection policies in recent years. It has conducted criminal background checks on volunteers since 2008 and in 2010 mandated any suspected abuse be reported to police.

Article by: Huff Post Los Angeles


Victims re-victimized in Torrington High School Statutory Rape Case

March 25, 2013

doc514fd4e6545d2940833348TORRINGTON >> A week after their school made national headlines following the arrests of three students on charges for statutory rape of two 13-year-old girls, Torrington High School students have continued to use social media to bully the victims and make light of the situation.

In a photo posted to Instagram Friday by user “aalyahhx,” 10 students are seen in the high school gymnasium, each making hand gestures which spell out the number “21,” the jersey number of football player Edgar Gonzalez, who was arrested in Feburary along with fellow teammate Joan Toribio. The photo, which has been “liked” 45 times, included the hashtag “#FreeEdgar,” which has been attached to a number of controversial tweets surrounding the subject of the alleged rapes, including an account which has since been taken down which referred to the victims as “hoes.” The photo also shows one of the students holding a “2013 Champions” dodgeball and included the hashtag ‘#TeamAnonymous,” the name of the team which won the school-sponsored dodgeball tournament earlier that night, according to Twitter user “@aaliyahhhhx.”

By Tom Caprood
tcaprood@registercitizen.com
Twitter.com/TomCaprood


Rape trial divides Ohio town. What’s more important Football Championships or the victim?

March 13, 2013

4e7958ea-496c-400d-9ac6-76fdf2fd78af_anonymousSTEUBENVILLE, Ohio – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was wrapping up on the television inside the blue-collar, downtown bar here, which actually is a description of just about every bar in this old, sagging steel town on the Ohio River.

Conversation centered on mill layoffs, the cost of COBRA health insurance and the relative attractiveness of Alicia Keys – she performed on “Ellen” – until the local 5 o’clock news came on with the latest updates in the trial set to begin Wednesday of two Steubenville High football players, each charged with the August 2012 rape of a passed-out West Virginia girl.

It wasn’t long before almost everyone in the place was arguing with each other. Loudly.

The case of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, both 16, continues to polarize this town of almost 20,000 in eastern Ohio. From the crassness of the charges to the videotape of the alleged incident, to the influence of the legendary local football program (“Roll, Red, Roll”) on the investigation, to allegations of cover-ups, lies and cronyism, the case has festered on amid international attention after the hacking group Anonymous blew up the story this winter by ridiculing local authorities.

This is a classic small-town crime story set against the backdrop of a once-proud city dealing with the economic struggles of the Appalachian coal region.

And all of Steubenville’s insecurities rushed to the surface as local leaders Tuesday again tried to defend the city’s reputation during an afternoon news conference that claimed everything will be fine. “Our community has come together,” city manager Cathy Davison proclaimed. “We’re stronger, and regardless of the outcome of this traumatic experience and events, our community is strong.”

Within the working ranks of a hardscrabble region, they mock such claims. Inside the bar, where the libations are more like truth serum, one finds the real Steubenville – the doubts and divisions, the tension and sadness, the friends fighting over the actions of some high school kids. Here Davison is a joke, and here the town gossip spins, and here the battle lines are prominently drawn – the “cops/football” vs. “the girl.”

“It’s 80/20 for the cops/football,” said the bartender. “It’s all about football here.”

Others suggested that it’s closer to 50/50, although no one knows for certain. In polite company, the case isn’t worth discussing because it is so divisive. Of course, this bar during happy hour isn’t about polite company, but not one person – not here, not anywhere else in town – wanted their name associated with the case.

If you rip the cops, they fear, the cops will target you. If you rip the girl, someone might see it differently, and they might be your boss or your boss’ wife or who the hell knows these days.

“You can’t afford to lose a job here because there aren’t any jobs,” one guy noted. “Anybody with any sense already moved out.”

So anonymity was everything.

“This is off the record, right?” one guy said.

“Dan, I mean it, you’re not going to screw me here, right?” he asked again five minutes later.

“I just got to check one more time, no names, right? I wasn’t even here, right?” he said upon leaving.

“Who are you again?” I asked.

These are big, burly laborers, not the kind of people prone to fear, but in Steubenville it’s just better to lay low and keep your complaints among friends over smudged glasses of Jim Beam, cans of Miller Lite and a steady stream of Marlboro smoke.

“You can’t even name the bar,” said the bartender.

——————————————————————————–

The prosecution’s version of events will go like this, according to court documents, a preliminary trial in October and news conference details:

Last August, about 50 teens attended a party at the home of a high school girl and her older brother, who is a Steubenville assistant football coach.

A16-year-old girl, who hails from across the river in Weirton, W.Va., and attends a different school, was among the crowd. She was soon extremely drunk or drugged.

When the party broke up, a football player named Mark Cole loaded up his Volkswagon Jetta with teammates Mays, Richmond and Evan Westlake. The girl came also. They went to the home of another player and, after a brief visit, decided to head to Cole’s house.

At that point, the girl threw up in the street. Someone took off her shirt, they said, so she wouldn’t puke on it. Eventually she was placed in the back of the Jetta, possibly completely passed out. On the ride over, Mays penetrated her with his fingers while Cole used a camera phone to videotape the act.

Upon arriving at the Cole home, Mays and Richmond carried the girl to the basement. She threw up again. Another friend, Anthony Craig, arrived. Cole showed him the video before the two went to the basement, where the girl was now naked.

Mays, the prosecution alleges, was kneeling and exposing himself, as he tried to get the possibly passed out girl to perform oral sex. Meanwhile, Richmond penetrated her with his fingers. Craig took pictures on his camera phone of the incident. No one stopped the attack.

Prosecutors say the girl had no memory of the incident and there is no physical evidence, but because of the photos – including one of her limp body being carried by only her wrists and ankles – and descriptions of the night on social media, word of the alleged rape leaked out. One high schooler tweeted: “Song of the night definitely is ‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana.”

Two days later, the girl’s parents took her to the hospital and later went to the police with a flash drive of pictures and information from the Internet. Mays and Richmond were arrested a little more than a week later, on Aug. 22, and charged with rape. Each maintains their innocence. Both will be tried as juveniles, which means even if they receive the maximum punishment, they will be free at age 21.

There are dozens of witnesses to her level of intoxication and some 50 people are on the potential list to testify in what should be at least a three-day trial.

The other three boys were not charged with any crime, mainly, prosecutors said, because they later deleted the photos and videos they admitted taking of the alleged rape, eliminating any physical evidence. That they didn’t even get hit with failure to report a crime has riled many, including the National Organization for Women. All three boys are expected to testify for the prosecution.

Later, a group affiliated with the hacker movement Anonymous put a video on YouTube of Steubenville native Michael Nodianos, at the time an Ohio State student, callously joking about the incident, referring to the alleged victim as “the dead girl” and declared “she is so raped.”

The video immediately went viral and ignited widespread outrage and a large protest rally downtown, even though police say Nodianos was not a witness to the crime and was just joking inappropriately about what he had heard. True or not, almost everyone at the bar thinks the pressure from the video forced authorities to push the case forward.

“If it wasn’t for Anonymous,” one person said, “this would’ve been swept under the rug.”

Some at the bar are convinced the three witnesses to the alleged rape avoided prosecution because of political connections or the fact that charging them could open up additional questions about more kids who are rumored to have witnessed the act, including some from prominent families. Bars are petri dishes for conspiracies and unproven stories.

Others think it’s all about football and point to the number of former Big Red players on local police forces and with various administrative ties to the program. They blame the misguided principles that put small-town football above everything and have corrupted not just adults but left punk teenagers to believe they are above common decency, let alone the law.

Steubenville High has won nine Ohio state championships and ranks as one of the 20-winningest high school programs in the country. It plays in beautiful Harding Stadium, complete with a statue of a red stallion that shoots flames from its mouth. It’s perched on a hill high above the blighted downtown and abandoned mills along the river.

“We have 16,000 people in Steubenville and a 10,000-seat stadium,” said one man. “That says it all.”

“They park RVs in the lot at Kroger [near the stadium], people come and camp out for home games,” said another. “You’re trying to go grocery shopping and they want to charge you for parking. It’s like, ‘Whoa, I’m just trying to buy some damn milk.’ ”

“Big Red football is the only thing this town has for entertainment,” said a third.

Still, there were more opinions, including some who agree with the defense and cite their own rumors the girl wasn’t as blacked out as the story goes, or maybe she never said no to anything. The defense strategy will rest on the definition of “consent.”

Other stories are even darker, too dark to even repeat.

That’s how ugly this case is. As one particularly odious theory was floated by an older man in a ratty jacket, mock chants of “Roll, Red, Roll” were shouted in an effort to drown out the idea and suggest blind loyalty to the team had caused him to believe something so awful. Then it was determined no one should buy the guy a drink.

“I thought this was America?” he said.

——————————————————————————–

Through an afternoon of raised voices and increased tension, there were a few things everyone agreed on.

First, the parents of just about everyone should shoulder some of the blame. How exactly, they wonder, has Steubenville – or America itself – gotten so lost that dozens of kids could watch a passed-out girl carried around and not interfere – or at least think something was wrong with videotaping an alleged rape or cracking jokes on Twitter?

“They’ve got to put paddling back in school,” one patron said.

“The hell with school,” someone retorted, “you can’t even whip your own child anymore without someone calling the cops.”

That brought universal nods of agreement.

Second, is that no one seems completely confident in the local police. Not even the guys siding with the football players think the cops are above corruption. This is Steubenville, after all.

Some say the detectives didn’t try hard. Others say they had their legs chopped out from under them by their bosses. And few think much of the fact the state attorney general is handling the trial, even though he has no ties to the region and would be crushed statewide if he was part of a cover-up. Meanwhile, the judge was brought in from the Cincinnati area and the sheriff and city police vehemently defend their actions in a complicated case. The city and county, well aware of the doubts, even established a fact-check website – steubenvillefacts.org – to fight the perception war.

It obviously hasn’t completely worked.

And finally, no matter the verdict that comes this week, the controversy is nowhere near settled. Civil suits are still to come. There may be – and some vocally argue should be – additional people charged. Suspicions and unconfirmed tidbits will continue to flourish.

No matter what truths come out under oath during the trial, many will continue to believe the opposite. They can cite any number of sister’s friend’s cousins as sources.

“This entire thing is a mess,” said the bartender.

Here in Steubenville, the scar of a rape case – and the rows of TV trucks parked in front of the Jefferson County Justice Center – weren’t exactly needed. The downtown is a disaster of empty storefronts and abandoned lots. The mills are barely left. One guy said he was hired at a local shop a dozen years ago when it employed 3,300.

“Now there’s 150,” he said.

About the only thriving business, they said, is the drug trade.

It’s not that Steubenville was ever some innocent place. It’s long been gritty and desperate, home to Dean Martin, Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder and former porn star Traci Lords, not to mention a rampant mob underworld, political corruption and crooked union bosses.

Still, after the precipitous fall, an infamous teen rape case that exposes every wart is a bit much, even here, in a bar where one patron had arrived at 9 a.m.

“You type ‘Steubenville’ into the Internet and ‘rape’ immediately comes up,” said one man. “Even before ‘Ohio.’ That sucks.”

“Ah, come on, this place is a [expletive] hellhole,” said another.

They all pretty much agreed on that, too.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 88 other followers