There has been a lot of activity coming out of Steubenville lately from illegal gambling raids to the Bill of Particulars being released in the State’s case against school administrators regarding the alleged cover up to protect Steubenville high school athletes accused of rape. Last week the Bill of Particulars was filed with the court which accuses Mike McVey, Superintendent of Steubenville City Schools of wiping computer hard drives, erasing emails and lying to investigators about his knowledge of the allegations against the boys. There have also been allegations of witness intimidation or harassment raised by both the prosecution and the defense in McVey’s case.
McVey has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, and misdemeanor counts of falsification and obstructing official business.
Early on McVey claims that he and the principal deferred investigation or judgment to Coach Reno Saccoccia when asked about the school’s involvement in the investigation of the accusations. In fact, McVey stated to CBS News in January 2013 that “protocol was followed” with regard to the handling of the investigation by the school. That “protocol” should raise questions all over again since he now stands accused of covering up a crime and tampering with evidence.
Dean Reynolds: Do you see a possible conflict of interest there?
Superintendent Michael McVey: Protocol was followed, sir.
Reynolds: What is the protocol? You and the principal defer to the football coach?
McVey: We followed our discipline protocol as we usually do.
McVey: Once everything is over and the facts are out, then we will make our decisions on what has to be done or who was involved or who was not involved.
To date, Steubenville City Schools has not made any public statements about those educators who were indicted. There are past statements about their willingness to cooperate with the investigation, however, those words hold no weight at this juncture, otherwise there would be a deeper desire and willingness to answer the unanswered questions that the public and their community has.
Steubenville City Schools released a statement in March 2013 which read:
“Last week was a difficult time for everyone in Steubenville, but especially for those of us
who work daily with young people. We are grateful to those who investigated and prosecuted the crime, and to all those who helped support the victim through this ordeal. We also are grateful to Judge Lipps for handling this case with great sensitivity and care, making sure that justice was served even under very difficult circumstances. As the trial in juvenile court proceeded, it was impossible not to ask what we might have done differently to prevent this horrible event from occurring.
Like everyone else, we are left with many unanswered questions and applaud Ohio Attorney
General Mike DeWine’s decision to convene a grand jury to make sure the investigation is complete and to determine whether additional charges should be filed in this case. We will respect the results of that process, and, if necessary, will take appropriate action.
From the beginning, we have cooperated fully with this investigation and will continue to do
so. To the best of our knowledge, everyone associated with Steubenville City Schools students and employees – have cooperated, as we have encouraged them to do.
As a school community, it is time for us to move forward and focus our attention on the students in our classrooms. But, as we do that, we must learn everything we can from this case and try to figure out what, if anything, we can do differently so nothing like this ever happens again. We owe that to the victim, our students, and our community.”
Rereading this statement now is cringe-worthy knowing that McVey and others have been indicted and/or charged with lying, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence for the purpose of protecting a football program instead of protecting a child. Exactly WHAT has Steubenville City Schools learned from this case? What have they done to make sure nothing like this ever happens again in their community? What have they done to educate students and/or the community so that this never happens again?
For nearly two years the battle cry out of some Steubenville locals has been there was “no cover up“. Those unwavering screams turned into harassment of anyone who countered their screams with fact; some of those attacks were even coming from the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office. And then there is this gem from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Frank Bruzzese:
It would appear that the local official in charge of Steubenville City Schools turned out to be not so honorable after all and had Jane Hanlin done her job with due diligence, Attorney General Mike DeWine would have walked away empty handed.by