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Steubenville Justice Defined?

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.

Read More at: http://www.wtov9.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wtov_a-conversation-ohio-attorney-general-mike-dewine-mcvey-case-7173.shtml

not to have really any contact with the witnesses or anyone connected with the case.”  What does this even mean?  Is there an Order that states he is not to have any contact with these individuals and how long is this Order in effect?  What type of contact?  If he is at the grocery store and one of his former coworkers walks in – is he violating this no contact order by virtue of being in the same establishment as them?  How can the State of Ohio restrain him from contact without specifically citing the specifics of potential contact?  WTOV9 then asked Mr. DeWine if the punishment for being charged with felonies was sufficient enough, Mr. DeWine responded with:

Continue reading Steubenville Justice Defined?

Charges Dropped Against McVey, Former Steubenville Superintendent

It was announced today that the court accepted a plea from Mike McVey.  McVey agreed to resign from the Steubenville City School system and tendered his resignation this morning.  The school board accepted it this evening after a special executive session.   The agreement states McVey will not seek any employment with city schools, nor have any contact with school board members or the administration, witnesses or co-defendants in the special grand jury.

According to the State of Ohio, they were not confident that they had enough evidence to get a conviction as far as whether McVey wiped systems or deleted emails.

Angela Canepa, assistant attorney general, said the evidence in the case may not have been able to prove it was McVey who deleted e-mails and other information on his computer as believed by the grand jury.

Canepa said there wasn’t much direct evidence against McVey. She added there was no way to tell what was in the deleted e-mails, even though Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation computer forensic experts checked city school computers.

– See more at: http://heraldstaronline.com/page/content.detail/id/615992/McVey-resigns-position–charges-dropped.html?nav=5010#sthash.BM8lePRw.dpuf

I guess my thought here is why wait until now to end this when it appears as though it could have been done long ago.  If they knew that they might not be able to get a conviction – how long ago did they know and why not drop charges then?  I never believed that Mr. McVey woke up one morning and thought to himself, “well, gonna go to work and obstruct justice today“.  I have always believed that someone instructed him to do so, if emails were deleted.  The fact of the matter is – no one will ever know the full extent of what occurred in the days following the rape and who done what or he said/she said.  It did become obvious that there was a disconnect with staff and administration regarding the mandatory report laws.  I don’t think it was necessarily a lack of knowledge about mandatory reporting as it was an unwillingness to abide by the mandatory report law. Just an opinion, of course.

I also find it a bit odd that McVey cannot have contact with school board members, witnesses or co-defendants in the special grand jury.  Steubenville is not a big town, and he has worked for the school system for almost 20 years.  It just seems like an odd punishment for deceptive behavior.  But…it is what it is.

Honestly, I’m fine with how things turned out. I think a lot of people are just glad to see this case finally put to rest.  Sure there are questions, but  we are not the judicial system and they did what they saw fit to do.  There are always things that we don’t know.  It’s easy to make assumptions, and from the very beginning – this case was filled with them.   The good part of all of this is:  This case has spawned an international discussion about rape culture and bystander intervention that has continued to grow over the past two years.  That in itself is more important than the outcome of judicial proceedings against some of the players in this case.

…and on that note, I shall bid you adieu. :)

 

Subpoenas Issued in Steubenville Superintendent Case

 

12/17/14PRAECIPE FOR SUBPENA FILED AND SUBPENA ISSUED TO SHERIFF OF JEFFERSON COUNTY FOR SERVICE  ON BEHALF OF STATE OF OHIO FOR 01/12/2015.

  • STEVE WESTLAKE, father of Evan Westlake who was granted immunity in rape case
  • DORIS LOCASCIO,
  • AMY CARDUCCI, Wells Academy teacher
  • GREG AGRESTA,
  • BARRY GULLEN, Asst. Superintendent at Steubenville City Schools
  • LISA BRUZZESE, Steubenville City School District – purchasing director/finance
  • MELINDA YOUNG, Interim superintendent
  • LYNNETT GORMAN,teacher Steubenville City Schools
  • JAYME BROWNING, Superintendent Secretary/EMIS Coordinator at Steubenville City Schools
  • ANTHONY CRAIG, one of three granted immunity in rape case
  • SHAWN CROSIER, Steubenville High School Principal
  • LEE GILLISON, Guidance Counselor
  • ANTHONY PIERRO
  • FRED HEATHERINGTON, Steubenville High School baseball head coach

12/22/14    PRAECIPE FOR SUBPOENA FILED AND SUBPENA ISSUED TO SHERIFF OF JEFFERSON COUNTY FOR SERVICE ON THE FOLLOWING ON BEHALF OF STATE OF OHIO FOR 01/12/2015

  • RENO SACCOCCIA
  • WILLIAM RHINAMAN

12/30/14PRAECIPE FOR SUBPOENA FILED AND SUBPENA ISSUED TO SHERIFF OF JEFFERSON COUNTY FOR SERVICE ON THE FOLLOWING ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT FOR 01/20/2015:

  • RICK SHUSTER, Director of Technology at Steubenville City Schools
  • MATTHEW BELARDINE,
  • JOE NOCERA, Principal of Wells Academy
  • BRIAN D’AURA,teacher
  • DR. CHARLES JOYCE, former Superintendent
  • SUE BOWMAN,
  • WILLIAM HENDRICKS, School board 
  • RUTH ANN BRUZZESE,President of the Steubenville City Board of Education
  • MICHAEL GIANNAMORE, school board
  • MIKE BOWMAN, Facilities Director of Steubenville City Schools
  • DAVE HINDMAN, Steubenville HS (Big Red) Booster Club
  • RICH DELATORE, Steubenville HS (Big Red) Booster Club
  • JERRY BARILLA, Steubenville HS (Big Red) Booster Club
  • DR. JAMES BABER, Executive vice president for academic and student affairs EGCC
  • RIKKI KAMARADOS,
  • REV. DR. VAUGHN A. FOSTER,
  • RICH RANALLO,
  • SHAWN CROSIER,
  • FRED HEATHERINGTON, Steubenville High School baseball head coach
  • RENO SACCOCCIA, Head Coach Steubenville High School Big Red Football
  • SARAH ELLIOT, School Psychologist
  • DR. CHUCK KOKIKO,
  • BARRY GULLEN, ‎Asst. Superintendent at Steubenville City Schools
  • GREG AGRESTA, school board and foster father of Ma’lik Richmond

01/07/15    NOTICE OF APPEARANCE FILED ON BEHALF OF STEUBENVILLE CITY SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION BY G. DANIEL SPAHN.

01/07/15    PRAECIPE FOR SUBPOENA FILED AND ISSUED TO SHERIFF OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY FOR SERVICE ON: DAN CLARK, DIRECTOR OF PROFESSIONAL TRAINING FOR CRCC; ATTORNEY KARRIE M. KALAIL ON BEHALF OF DEFENSE FOR 01/20/2015.

From an LA Times article regarding Dan Clark:

Since the case became big news, Steubenville City Schools Supt. Michael McVey said an extra crisis counselor had been hired and life skills classes were putting heightened emphasis on dating violence.

School employees were required to attend an educational session with Dan Clark, director of professional training at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. In February, Clark held a session for parents to discuss teenage sexual activity, drinking and definitions of rape.

The crisis center expected hundreds of parents. Only 18 people showed up.

“Quite honestly, it’s probably the folks that weren’t there that needed to hear the message,” said Clark, a former law enforcement officer.

Clark blamed the low turnout in part on the session being held on a weeknight. But talks with a focus group of parents before the meeting also revealed a desire to not discuss the case. “People were saying, ‘We just want to be done with this,'” Clark said.

McVey clearly is also eager for the case to be over. He said his battle now was keeping the students and staff focused on the classroom, not the courtroom a few blocks away.

Trent Mays & the Lunatics of Steubenville

Trent Mays was released from juvenile detention yesterday and apparently cried in court.  Boo hoo.   I am having a hard time mustering up sympathy for him.  He is out of his “prison”…Jane Doe is forever bound by the actions of he and his friends.  She doesn’t get “do overs”, and there is no part of me that is hopeful  of his placement back into society.  Second chances?  Nope.  Don’t care if he gets one.

His attorney released a statement on behalf of his family that has my ass a bit chapped.

“The Mays family is elated to be reunited with their son after this trying ordeal. Trenton has excelled during his rehabilitative process, and has earned the right to be released. He is an extremely promising young man, eager to prove himself on behalf of his family and his community. The family would appreciate their privacy during this time together, which they have so longed for.”

Read More at: http://www.wtov9.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wtov_trent-mays-released-ohio-juvenile-detention-facility-7028.shtml

Their privacy became a non-issue when Trent and his friends decided to use the internet to humiliate and demean Jane Doe by bragging about her rape.  Trent did this to himself and if he never has a moment’s peace because of his actions then it’s a moment too soon as far as I’m concerned.

Continue reading Trent Mays & the Lunatics of Steubenville

Rest Easy, Leelah Alcorn

THIS breaks my heart. Simply rips it from my chest and causes me to have soul crushing pain for this child.  After years of abuse and rejection from strict Christian parents, Leelah who was a  transgender teen commited suicide by stepping in front of a moving tractor trailer this weekend.  Leelah Alcorn, also known as Joshua Alcorn, was struck and killed by a passing semitrailer on southbound Interstate 71 in Union Township Sunday morning.  A suicide note placed in a queue was  subsequently posted on her Tumblr. It breaks my heart to read someone so young be who is feels as though they have nothing to live for.  It also makes me very angry at those who use religion as an excuse to abuse others or belittle them.    I could go on for days about that, but this post is to honor Leelah and bring attention to transgender issues.

Her mother posted this on her Facebook that he was hit by a truck while on an early morning walk.

My sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

The following was posted on her Tumblr.  

Continue reading Rest Easy, Leelah Alcorn

Steubenville Documentary

I spent a bit of time on the phone today with a documentary filmmaker who is doing a film on Steubenville, and among the things that we talked about is how or how hasn’t Steubenville changed in the past two years.  He has done some traveling for this project and told me that he hears over and over how terrible people think Steubenville is and that it really has a bad reputation.  I agree, but we also talked about how they have handled the publicity.

It hasn’t been dealt with very well and over the course of the past two years, I can’t think of one positive thing or turn of events where this case has been involved.  Sure, locals are going to say that Ma’lik rejoined the football team and that they think this was a positive event;  or maybe their bragging rights that he made great grades is something that makes them feel that somehow this qualifies as redemption, but overall how has the town’s reputation been uplifted?  What has occurred locally that qualifies as an xample of a positive learning experience from this case?  The news coming out of Steubenville is grim.

Tomorrow Matt Belardine will be sentenced for probation violation.  The Judge reportedly wants to speak to the woman in Arizona who is at the center of the assault controversy there.  I hope she’s a bit more level-headed via Skype or telephone with the Judge than she has been on Twitter.

Regardless, all of this is going to make for some very interesting material in the future and one can only hope that one day the powers that be in Steubenville can get their act together in Steubenville and start making positive change in their community.

 

 

 

Columbus Police Investigate Gang Rape

There is not much information available to the public other than a 15-year old girl was abducted after missing her bus as she walked along McGuffey Road in Columbus.

Her grandparents who have asked to remain anonymous said she missed her school bus and decided to walk back to her Northeast Columbus home when the suspects pulled her into the car.  They duct taped her and drove her to another location where she heard several voices other than the two that she heard during the abduction and in the car.

Columbus Police Detectives have little to go on in terms of suspect information but believe a 2-door black car was used in the abduction.  (Source)  There is no information regarding the description of the occupants of the car.

Investigators ask anyone with information on this abduction to call the Columbus Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit.

State of Ohio Says Belardine Violated Probation

Hate to say it, but who didn’t see this one coming?  I suppose the answer is obviously EVERYONE but Matt Belardine – otherwise he wouldn’t have gone off to Arizona sans probation officer approval, or gotten shit faced and assaulted protesters while being filmed.  Looks like social media got Belardine once again.  When are these people going to learn? That’s a rhetorical question because two years later and nothing has changed.

Rena Koski White

..and the usual mouthpieces of Steubenville weigh in on Mike DeWine for doing his job.

As a result, he is being held in the Jefferson County Jail until a hearing in front of Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Dec. 17.

The following are the violations:

  • Defendant left the state of Ohio without written permission of his probation officer, contrary to his Community Control No. 3.
  • Defendant was in a bar in Scottsdale, Ariz., contrary to his Community Control No. 7.
  • Defendant consumed alcohol, contrary to his Community Control No. 7 and Community Control Special condition No. 17.
  • Defendant was arrested and charged with a new violation of law in Scottsdale, contrary to his Community Control No. 1.
  • Defendant did not conduct himself as a “responsible law abiding citizen” while in Scottsdale, contrary to his Community Control No. 1.
  • Defendant failed to follow “all orders verbal or written,” given to him by his probation officer or other authorized representative of the Court, contrary to his Community Control No. 5.

    Read More at: http://www.wtov9.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wtov_state-says-belardine-violated-terms-probation-6789.shtml

All of the probation violations are pretty self-explanatory and from the looks of it, the attorney general’s office isn’t messing around.  It will be interesting to see how Judge Cosgrove feels about seeing Mr, Belardine in her court again.  #Steubenvillemade probably isn’t gonna cut it this time.

Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women

Last year I was asked to contribute an essay to an anthology focusing on stories of the “breakup” of friendships between women.  We all know and talk about male/female breakups and the grieving process (or not) of those.  I am honored to be a part of this project.

I wrote a piece about being betrayed by a friend because of my involvement in the Steubenville case.  There were others who turned their backs on me for whatever reasons, but this particular person was one that to this day I don’t understand, and honestly don’t think I ever will understand it.

The essay is about the emotions of dealing with the betrayal and the  breaches of confidence that were used as leverage to either try to shame or humiliate me.  I don’t know…it’s still hard to dissect how the heck it even all started.  I usually don’t share personal information about my life, but for this I felt like I needed to divulge the facts of some of the outright lies that were told about me.  I haven’t done that before.  For over two years I have basically sat back and said nothing in defense of myself nor posted rebuttals to some of the garbage that has been put out there about me.

I hope that my short essay will provide a glimpse into the private side of me and that my old friend and I will have some sort of closure.  It is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be available for sale in March 2015.

Candid, relatable stories by established and emerging women writers about being discarded by someone from whom they expected more: a close female friend. There are 161 million women in America today, and our friendships are still as primary and universal as back when Ruth and Naomi, Elizabeth and Susan B., and Thelma and Louise made history. When a romantic relationship breaks up, no problem—there’s an Adele song for that. Health concerns; problems in school; issues at the workplace? We’ve got our chums to prop us up. Until we don’t. When our most sustaining relationships dissolve—those with the women friends in our lives—there’s never been the fanfare that accompanies the loss of other relationships society deems “more important.” Until now. In Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women, twenty-five established and emerging writers—including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Ann Hood, Carrie Kabak, Jessica Handler, Elizabeth Searle, Alexis Paige, and editor Nina Gaby—explore the fragile, sometimes humorous, and often unfathomable nature of lost friendship. These, like your own, are stories that stay with you—maybe for a lifetime

Steubenville Matt Belardine: ” rapes whores like you”

If it’s not bad enough that Matt Belardine is still on court supervision and was arrested this weekend for fighting with Ferguson protesters, it gets really ugly when his victim comes forth to allege that not only did he punch her several times, but he also told her where he is from “we rape whores like you”.  WHO even says something like this?

 The Ohio Attorney General’s office is awaiting the copy of the Scotsdale police report, and I hope they see this video as well as the claims by the protester who was attacked by Busic and Belardine.

 

Another video – One of the perps enters at 0:32. Keepin it classy, I see.