I watched the “Nodi Wylin About a Dead Girl” video today and it took nearly an hour to finish listening to it. It was a very painful 12 minutes 29 seconds. The content of the video was just THAT horrible. Almost two months ago when I first started writing about the Steubenville case, I detailed how shocked and upset I was at the tweets that I discovered. Reading those tweets was a walk in the park compared to actually hearing the filth roll off of another human being’s tongue about the events of that night. I cannot imagine if Nodi were my son or my brother, but I can feel compassion and sorrow for his family — unlike the lack of emotion he showed for the victim. I cannot imagine the humiliation and shame that his actions have brought upon his family – who are also innocent victims. They did not ask for this shame. Many lives were forever changed that night by the actions of all of those involved.
I think what most find disturbing is the lack of empathy and compassion from so many of those who witnessed the brutality. What kind of person stands by and watches gleefully as another is violated and publicly humiliated? There are so many questions and it is my hope, and has always been my motivation that those questions somehow be answered.
I forgot to mention it here. I’ll be a guest on the Roseanne (Barr) & Johnny radio broadcast today, as well as KYAnonymous is calling in as a guest. 2PM EST.
I thought I would make a post with links to live streams of the rally tomorrow for those who can’t make it and would like to watch.
On behalf of myself and the John Doe defendants, we are very pleased to announce that the defamation lawsuit filed against us has been dismissed with prejudice. Dismissals with prejudice mean that this case can never be refiled again and this lawsuit is officially over. On December 20th, the plaintiffs approached us about settling this case, and we were quite happy to oblige. Lawsuits are costly and very stressful, and this suit has taken a toll on all involved. As part of the settlement we did not pay any money; we did not agree to retract any statements, nor did we agree to stop covering the case or discussing it.
Cody Saltsman has asked to make a statement here to express his remorse for the photo and comments that he tweeted. It is also his desire and ours to clarify that we never had any evidence of his direct involvement in the subsequent events of that night. While he may have been present at various parties that evening, there has been no evidence of his involvement in the rape, nor has he been charged with any such crime. We are happy to post his statement; it is below. We appreciate that Cody
I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you all have a blessed holiday season.
Cold cases tear at my heart strings but when they involve the unsolved murders of children, they are even more upsetting. Bill Comeans was 5 days from turning 15-years old when he was murdered in Columbus, Ohio. He was a student at Westland High School in Galloway, Ohio. I attended this high school and Bill grew up in my neighborhood. Everyone who knew him had nothing but glowing comments about him. He was a thoughtful, loving kid with a giant heart. He had a paper route that he got so he could use his earnings to buy a piano. Every year he played Santa Claus for the neighbor boy. It brought him great joy to spread kindness to others, but someone wanted to harm Bill. That is what is so unbelievable about this case. Bill had no enemies that anyone knew of. He was well liked by everyone.
…and people wondered why anyone who lives in that town was terrified to use their real names when it comes to discussing this case!
“You’re going to get yours. And if you don’t get yours, somebody close to you will.”
~Coach Reno Saccoccia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
We believe that the real goal of this lawsuit is to discover the identity of anonymous posters so they, and future commentators on this site will be intimidated and discouraged from voicing their opinions.
This tactic has a name. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) are a common tool used to silence and intimidate those exercising their right to free speech.
We believe that this case is a textbook example of a cyberSLAPP suit. If subpoenas are honored and the identities of anonymous commenters are revealed, serious damage will have been done to anonymous free speech on the internet, even if the lawsuit is ultimately dismissed.
For these reasons, we have enlisted the help of the ACLU of Ohio in order to fight these subpoenas on behalf of all of the John Doe defendants, and to fully address the chilling effect of this lawsuit.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ACLU of Ohio Offers to Represent Anonymous Defendants in Jefferson County Defamation Case
Defendants Have a First Amendment Right to Anonymous Online Speech and Should be Protected from a CyberSLAPP Lawsuit
STEUBENVILLE, OH – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio announced that it has offered to represent a number of “John Doe” defendants in a defamation lawsuit and subpoena request currently pending in the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas.
“We believe the real goal of this lawsuit is to discover the identity of anonymous online commenters so that they, and future commenters will be intimidated and discouraged from voicing their opinions,” said ACLU Volunteer Attorney Scott Greenwood. “This is just an updated form of a classic Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) which is typically used to silence speech that is protected under the First Amendment.”
The case in question, Cody Saltsman v. Alexandria Goddard, began after two teenage football players at Steubenville High School were accused of raping a female from a near-by town. Alexandria Goddard, a former resident of Steubenville blogged about the incident, allegedly because she felt that others involved in the incident should be charged. Others also posted online opinions about the case anonymously.
A juvenile student at Steubenville High School named Cody Saltsman was a target of some of these postings, which alleged that he had been involved in the incident but had not been charged. Additional postings mentioned other football players and focused on suggestions that some of the people involved in the rape were not charged and should be brought to justice. Through his parents, Saltsman responded with a lawsuit and a request to issue subpoenas to obtain the identity of the anonymous internet commenters. Goddard’s counsel then involved the ACLU of Ohio, in hopes that the organization could provide representation to other still-anonymous defendants and fully address the First Amendment implications of this cyberSLAPP lawsuit.
“If subpoenas are honored and the identities of these commenters are revealed, the First Amendment damage is done,” said Greenwood. “Even if the lawsuit is ultimately unsuccessful, the Plaintiff will have discouraged others in this small community from engaging in online conversation which they believed to be anonymous. This would have serious implications for other forms of anonymous free speech on the internet.”