The book is set to release on March 3rd. To say that I’m excited is an understatement. It finally hit me the other day that OMG – I’m published. Something that I had always dreamed of, but never put much thought into. I write mainly for the “release” that it gives me. I’ve kept a diary or in big girl words – have journaled since I was in second grade. I still have all of those journals. Some silly stuff in there, but there are also the journals and notebooks that I have kept over the past two years during the Steubenville “saga” (for lack of a better term). I pulled them out the other day and read some of the entries – which were like pouring salt in a wound at times. I kept my blogging mainly to discussion about the case and haven’t really talked much about the emotional things I was going through during that time. It was bad…really bad at times. Having your ass kicked online by faceless strangers on a daily basis, and having your friends and family targeted because you decided to write about a rape case was very tough at times. My best friend, Michelle, literally talked me off the ledge numerous times. I don’t like to admit when I feel weak or vulnerable and that made this experience even more challenging because in my mind I was supposed to portray that “I am woman – I am strong” facade at all times, and in doing so it came at a great cost to my health and at times, my emotional well-being. Even writing that and reading those words makes me feel squeamish, but there were times that I was NOT strong and I was NOT okay. This experience really came with a long lasting price.
The Steubenville case does not define who I am. I was me long before I wrote about the case, but my experiences while living in Steubenville gave me knowledge of the culture there so that I was able to communicate it to those who had never been there or lived there. That knowledge brought with it a lot of hate tossed my way. Those who I used to be friends with were angered that their town was getting international attention and they blamed me for bringing the negative attention rather than acknowledging the real issue: attention was brought to Steubenville when I and 25 John Doe commenters from this blog were sued for defamation. Attention was brought when the crime was advertised on social media.
I lost friends which hurt, but I also gained new friends and supporters, so I suppose in the end it all evens out. I was invited to contribute an essay to Nina Gaby’s book Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women, and I wrote about my former best friend “Kathy”. To this day, her betrayal still stings but I have moved on and chalked it up as one of life’s lessons. I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. It might hurt or be uncomfortable at times, but in the end there is a reason or a greater purpose for that lesson. I treasure the memories I had with my former best friend, and wish her no ill will and have forgiven her long ago, but I can never forget. Her actions to this day cause me great pain…but life goes on, right? I haven’t stopped being me and if anything has been learned from this part of the journey in my life it is to look back with no regrets and to move forward with hope and promise of better days to come.
I hope you all will enjoy the book. It is getting fantastic reviews and I am beyond excited about the day when I can actually hold this anthology in my hands. My story is one of 25 and the others are equally as intriguing and important. I hope that everyone takes something positive away from each story and that we learn from these collective experiences about being “dumped”.
Here is a review from Elisa Batista of momsrising.com:
At the start, I was appalled by some of the women’s stories. Let’s clarify: these women weren’t dumped. They were bullied. A couple of the women were isolated in high school and required therapy as adults. In perhaps the most chilling account, the whistle blower of the Steubenville, Ohio high school rape by star football players was publicly betrayed by her childhood best “friend” Kathy. Kathy publicly published the author’s secrets and home address on Twitter, and in cult-like fashion, had others bully her supporters.
“How do you recover from this type of betrayal? Most people would say you can’t. But I have. I feel sorry for Kathy that she chose to jump on that passing wagon, using my trust in her as a means to validate her existence with the other haters. I never lashed out at her publicly. I never broke her confidence. Instead, I sat by and watched as she attempted to destroy anyone that I cared about just to get back at me for speaking my mind and pointing out an injustice, and speaking the truth about our town.” –Alexandria Goddard, “Breaking Omertá”
What has changed? Not really anything.
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.
“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?
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.
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 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
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.
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.
..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:
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.
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.
Former Steubenville High School assistant coach, Matt Belardine, arrested for harassing Ferguson protesters.
Steubenville is back in the news…again. From the post-game brawl between Steubenville High School and Beechcroft to the recent arrest of former assistant coach Matt Belardine, the Steubs can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight.
This weekend, Matt Belardine, was arrested with his friend Sam Busic formerly of Steubenville while accosting protesters at a Ferguson rally in Phoenix, AZ.
Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO reported that two people were arrested for fighting in front of the Wasted Grain bar during a Ferguson protest. Matt Belardine and Sam Busic were bystanders who instigated a fight with some of the demonstrators and yelled obscenities at them, police said. (Source: CBS 5 News) Belardine was charged with disorderly conduct and Busic was charged with assault.
I wonder if he told the protesters “You’re going to get yours. And if you don’t get yours, somebody close to you will.”? You know…following in the footsteps of his beloved Coach Reno Saccoccia and all.
Coach Reno Saccoccia being pulled out of a post-game brawl in a choke hold. Click photo for full story.
In April, Belardine appeared before Special Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove for his role in the Steubenville rape case. Belardine was a volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of an underage drinking party.
Matthew Belardine, 26, of Steubenville, Ohio, pleaded no contest to one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking at the Aug. 11, 2012, party. Charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dismissed.
Special Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove of Jefferson County Common Pleas Court sentenced Belardine to 10 days in jail, one year of supervision and 40 hours of community service. She also fined him $1,000.
It looks like Belardine is still on court supervision. Some people never learn.