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Ohio AG DeWine on TJ Lane, threats against Steubenville victim

7:00 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine gives his thoughts on TJ Lane's "Killler" shirt and lewd comment at his sentencing and the threats made against the Steubenville rape victim.

DeWine was asked about the threats made against the Steuvenville rape victim right after the sentencing Sunday and why the two girls -- 15 and 16 -- that made the threats are being held now without bond until their hearing.

"The decision (to hold them) is entirely up to the juvenile court judge...right after the (sentencing), when the victim thought it was all over, (the threats were) posted on the Internet, on Facebook...people can be stupid and say even hurtful things..." DeWine said.

"Honestly, I don't think the problem is with the judges or the courts. I think it is a societal problem...this is not a Steubenville problem...as rapes like this, tragic rapes, occur every weekend, every Friday night, every Saturday night..."

"We need to have respect for women, we need to have respect for each other..."

DeWine was asked about the relatively young age of recent offenders, teens like Chardon's TJ Lane and Steubenville's Ma'lik Richmond and Trent Mays.

"Young kids need to understand what rape really is...as a father and a grandfather, I think we're seeing kids grow up too fast and I don't know that I can change that..."

"People go on the Internet, they post things on Facebook, they have text messages...they are doing things and saying things they never would say to another human being directly...there's something about the distance..."

How many text messages were involved in the Steubenville rape?

"We looked at 390,000 text messages in this case...390,000...you would be shocked, your viewers would be shocked at what these young people are saying..." DeWine said.

DeWine's office has just announced a new initiative to provide more sexual assault services in all of Ohio's 88 counties. He said his office is also going to look at rape prevention and rape education. He said the level of victims' services in Ohio is "not high enough."

"...we already have victim services programs but those programs are after the fact, as they help victims. We would like to have a lot fewer victims...and there is a lack of understanding, a lack of sensitivity about rape..." DeWine said.

On TJ Lane's taking off his dress shirt and only wearing a white T-shirt with the word "Killer" scrawled on it, his lewd pre-sentencing statement and what action should have been taken in court that day with the shirt, DeWine said, "I think it was so sad about this...that the victims' families had to see that and hear that...I think, in retrospect, those in the courtroom may wish they had done something...get him out of the courtroom and make him put the (dress shirt) back on..."

"But know that we are never going to have to hear from him again...I'm sure he's going to appeal but it doesn't mean that we will have to see him..."

WKYC-TV

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