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Blog: Alleged rape cover-up tears Steubenville apart

7:31 PM, Jan 6, 2013   |    comments
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I thought about writing about the Cleveland Browns' search for a new head coach, but the cast of characters keeps changing so quickly that my blog might be quickly outdated.

So...Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla remains under fire for how he has handled a Steubenville High School rape investigation.

Protestors who numbered about 1,000 took Abdalla to task Saturday for allegedly shielding the popular "Big Red" football program from a more rigorous investigation.

For those who may not be familiar with this, Ma'lik Richmond and Trenton Mays, both 16 and members of the Steubenville High School football team, are charged with raping a 16-year-old fellow student at a party last August, according to statements from their own attorneys.

The "Occupy Steubenville" rally Saturday was organized by the online activist group Anonymous.

Abdalla, wearing a teal ribbon symbolizing support for sexual assault victims, declined to take the investigation over from Steubenville police, thus creating more furor. Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty said the investigation was thorough.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is located in Steubenville, just so you know.

For now, the two teens are scheduled to be tried as juveniles starting on Feb. 13 in Steubenville.

If Abdalla's name sounds somewhat familiar to you, you are keeping up with Ohio news.

It was Abdalla who, back in October 2011, made four arrests in the Amish hair- and beard-cutting incidents, the first in a series of arrests of what ended up being 16 arrests in all.

The 16, headed by Amish Bishop Sam Mullet, were tried last fall in federal court in Cleveland and a jury, after a total of 30 hours of deliberations, found all 16 of them guilty on Sept. 20, even Bishop Mullet, who never participated in any of the actual cuttings.

For now, sentencing is scheduled for the Amish on Jan. 24.

Abdalla has been quoted as saying that Mullet threatened his life several times, while some other Amish have said that Mullet's mostly family community is a cult. So, Abdalla doesn't sound like a man who is easily ruffled.

But I digress.

Word of the current situation gained national and international platforms this past week when Anonymous made public a picture of the purported rape victim being carried by her wrists and ankles by two young men.

Anonymous also released a video that showed several other young men joking about an assault.

In response to all the attention, Steubenville officials created a website -- check out the website -- called Steubenville Facts, in an effort to sort out information from misinformation.

This situation is far from over, unfortuantely.    

WKYC-TV

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