Ohio attorney general serves search warrants related to Steubenville High School rape case

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

Even after last month's convictions of two Steubenville High School football players for raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl, the Ohio attorney general promised to investigate whether the crime included wider community involvement or even a potential attempted coverup.

"The community has to feel that justice was done and anyone who was involved was held accountable," attorney general Mike DeWine told Yahoo! Sports last month. "I felt we had to get to the bottom of this because facts were crying out, 'Who knew what and when?' "

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Thursday brought the most significant proof that the investigation continues with DeWine's office executing multiple search warrants in relation to the case.

While the details were sealed under court order, investigators executed the warrants at Steubenville High School, the Steubenville Board of Education and Vestige Ltd., an electronic evidence company in the Cleveland suburb of Medina, Ohio.

[Related: Ohio attorney general wants more answers]

This comes just a few days ahead of next week's convening of a special grand jury empowered with investigating the case. It will begin hearing evidence on Tuesday. DeWine has said the scope of the grand jury investigation is open-ended.

The Steubenville school district could not be reached for comment on the search warrants. Vestige Ltd. cited corporate policy of refusing comment on any legal matter.

The warrants suggest the attorney general's office is interested in finding documents that might relay who inside the school system knew of the rape last August. It was that night that then-16-year-old Trent Mays and then-15-year-old Ma'lik Richmond sexually assaulted the West Virginia girl who had come to Steubenville for a night of partying. Numerous other Steubenville high school students either witnessed the crime or took pictures and even a video of the attack.

[Related: Steubenville High School football players found guilty]

Mays and Richmond were convicted last month in juvenile court. Mays will serve two years in a youth correctional facility. Richmond will serve one. The witnesses were spared prosecution in a deal agreed to by a visiting judge.

The case has overwhelmed Steubenville, an aging steel town on the state's eastern border where the powerful Big Red football program serves as a point of pride. Some in the community believe a sense of entitlement contributed to the behavior of the boys.

Because of the community's population of just 18,000, others have contended favoritism and bias clouded the investigation. Others have wondered whether iconic football coach Reno Saccoccia played any role in the case.

There was little to no evidence presented at the March trial that suggested as much, but DeWine believed the community needed a full look into the situation.

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