Last week the State of Ohio dropped charges against former Steubenville schools superintendent, Mike McVey. The basis of the agreement was that McVey would resign from his job, agree never to work for Steubenville schools again and avoid contact with those who were party to the case or his former co-workers. While McVey was accused of deleting emails and obstructing the investigation into the rape case, here is my issue with this whole dog and pony show. Where is the justice in punishing someone by dropping charges and then basically making them the leper of the city by disallowing him to have contact with his peers when this disallowed contact hasn’t been defined? This is such an odd end to a case that the State of Ohio vigorously pursued.
WTOV9 news sat down with Mr. DeWine and some of the things that he said just do not make sense.
“You know we feel this is a just resolution of the McVey case and the judge agreed in court. He was to resign and did resign. He is no longer to work for the school, and in addition to that, he agreed not to have really any contact with the witnesses or anyone connected with the case.
“We felt it was a just resolution. There was a real consequence when you lose a job or voluntarily give up a job. That has economic consequences. It also sends a very strong signal. So we felt it was a just resolution.”
During all the proceedings for Mike McVey, which obviously took a lengthy period of time, there was a comment made by someone with your office that McVey, at some point in time, said, “If you are not for us, you are against us.” At the end of the day, is this just about separating McVey from Steubenville in some way and getting him away from the district? Is that what you guys feel is the issue here? What is the real issue?
“Steubenville and Jefferson County have been through a lot. A trial would have been or would have opened up wounds, and frankly, exposed people who cooperated, people who came forward, people who were being cooperative. It would’ve been very tough on them because they would’ve had to go on the witness stand and testify, so that was certainly one of the considerations — maybe not the overriding consideration but certainly one that we looked at when making this decision. This would avoid a trial and avoided harassment of any of these witnesses. We did what they should’ve done and came forward, but to save them from having to go forward with this in public and having to deal with that.”
Mr. DeWine’s answers have me in fits. Steubenville has been through a lot? A trial would have opened up wounds and exposed those who cooperated to harassment? This begs the question of why wouldn’t you hold those who were intimidating witnesses accountable criminally for doing so? Harassing witnesses is against the law. Why wouldn’t the State uphold the law? That’s their job.
This case came to be via BULLYING. Teens and adults used the internet to humiliate, degrade and bully a rape victim rather than coming to her rescue. Teens and adults victim blamed and attempted to slut shame because they didn’t believe a rape had occurred or it “wasn’t a real rape.”
For over two years I have watched some of the locals harass and torment people online for having an opinion of this case. Adults were doing this. Adults were BULLYING others online and going after innocent people that were associated to those they were bullying for nothing more than to force them into silent submission. This very blog was a target of this behavior by the Saltsman’s when they filed a defamation suit against myself and 25 John Doe commenters for the purpose of stifling commentary about this case. The reason anyone commented anonymously here or anywhere was because they KNEW if they voiced their opinions out loud in town they and their families would be targeted. The State of Ohio basically just told the good people of Steubenville to STFU and don’t risk being the person who actually does something about injustice in their town because your voice doesn’t matter. They have essentially allowed bullies to pull the strings of the justice system. This sends the message that assistance in future investigations will be for naught and rather than punish the wrongdoers, they will just make them stay away from old friends…unless you are Matt Belardine who has done more time for a misdemeanor than any of those who were charged with felonies.
“I don’t agree with the premise. A number of charges were in fact filed. What goes on in the grand jury, I’m not allowed to comment on, as you know. But this was a grand jury that made its decision. These are people drawn from the Jefferson County community who sat for many, many days, who disrupted their lives to do this. Is it the ones who ultimately made a decision as far as the indictment.
“That is not how we should be punishing crimes in this country. You can obstruct justice, delete computers’ hard drives and cover up evidence of a rape but instead of being sent to jail for it, you just resign from your job and you go about your business.”