Prosecution sets sights on football coach, others after Steubenville rape convictions

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

If you haven't already read Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel's tremendous column on the "culture of arrogance" that led to a pair of reprehensible Steubenville (Ohio) High football players receiving rape convictions over the weekend, do that first.

Trent Mays left, and Ma'lik Richmond sit in court on the third day of their trial for an alleged rape. (AP)
Trent Mays left, and Ma'lik Richmond sit in court on the third day of their trial for an alleged rape. (AP)

Now that prosecutors secured 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old teammate Ma'lik Richmond behind bars at a youth correctional institute for at least one year, Ohio officials set their sights on members of the old mill community who helped create the atmosphere that led to the August 2012 sexual abuse of a 16-year-old West Virginia girl.

A pair of teenaged girls who reportedly threatened the victim, the owners of the house where the crime took place and Steubenville head football coach Reno Saccoccia all face potential charges, according to two separate Associated Press reports.

Less than 24 hours after Judge Thomas Libbs delivered the guilty verdict, authorities arrested a pair of girls, aged 15 and 16, for making violent threats against the victim on Twitter and Facebook, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the AP on Monday.

The 16-year-old arrestee, reportedly Richmond's cousin, allegedly threatened homicide in a tweet that claimed "you ripped my family apart." Meanwhile, the 15-year-old arrestee also faces a menacing charge for tweeting threats of bodily harm. DeWine's swift actions in the wake of the trial hope to put an abrupt end to such abhorrent behavior.

''People have the right to express their point of view," the Attorney General told the AP, "and they have the right to be stupid, and they have the right to be wrong, but they don't have the right under Ohio law to threaten to kill someone.''

Meanwhile, DeWine also announced an investigation into anyone and everyone aware of the incident who failed to report the rape to authorities. Chief among those many targets could be Saccoccia, the coach of Steubenville's nine-time state champion football team.

Among the thousands of moronic text messages that helped convict Mays and Richmond were a few that implicated Saccoccia in an attempted cover-up, according to another lengthy Wetzel report from Steubenville. Asked to relay what the longtime coach known as Reno said, Mays texted a friend, "Nothing really. Going to stay in for awhile. LOL. And next time (someone is) into something, suspended for three games.

"But I feel he took care of it for us. Like, he was joking about it, so I'm not worried."

And yet another text bombshell from Mays: "I got Reno. He took care of it and (expletive) ain't going to happen, even if they did take it to court."

Likewise, investigators have reportedly interviewed the owners of the Steubenville home where the disturbing photo depicting Mays and Richmond carrying the intoxicated girl by her extremities took place. The house is also reportedly the site of a horrifying video of yet another Steubenville football teammate, Michael Nodianos, describing the victim as "the dead girl" and declaring for his own twisted amusement: "She is so raped."

That vomit-inducing footage is what originally drew international attention to both the trial and the Ohio community of 18,000 people. Now, even after Sunday's convictions, the repercussions for all those involved isn't going away. And rightfully so.

According to the AP reports, coaches are required by state law to report child abuse, and anyone who disseminated the incriminating evidence could face charges similar to the one-year on-and-after sentence Mays received for the transmission of nude photographs.

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

What to Read Next