Ohio State University announced on its Facebook page Monday that Michael Nodianos no longer attends the school. Nodianos has been the subject of national media attention and public scorn since hackers from the Anonymous movement exposed a 12-minute video of him joking about the alleged kidnapping and rape of a 16-year-old girl at the hands of star football players from Steubenville, Ohio.
Nodianos, now 18, was quickly identified as the main voice in the cell phone video, in which he compared the victim to a dead body and to the woman who claimed to be raped by the Duke lacrosse team years ago. He has remained out of the public eye since the video – recorded on the August night Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond allegedly raped the girl -- came out. But when it was revealed that Nodianos attended Ohio State (and is wearing a OSU T-shirt in the video), the university quickly acted to defend its reputation.
Gayle Saunders, a university spokeswoman, issued a statement three days after the Nodianos video leaked to the Internet. It would soon be broadcast on “Good Morning America” and dissected on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show.
“Sexual assault is a terrible act of aggression and violence, and our hearts go out to all victims. The situation in Steubenville is particularly disturbing, and our thoughts are with those affected,” Saunders’ statement read. “To our knowledge, the only students who have been criminally charged in this matter [Mays and Richmond] are high school students with no affiliation to Ohio State. To the extent there are inquiries about any Ohio State student, the university is not at liberty to comment due to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulations, other than to confirm that the student in question was in attendance at Ohio State only through Dec. 12.”
That statement was followed up Monday with the simple message, “Michael Nodianos is no longer a student at The Ohio State University,” posted on the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Saunders did not reveal whether Nodianos had been enrolled at the school for the spring semester and then expelled or if he had stepped away under his own accord. A Facebook page titled “OSU expel Michael Nodianos, ‘Rape Crew’ Member,” attracted thousands of “likes” as news of the video went viral.
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The former Steubenville High student, who played baseball for the school team, was wearing an OSU T-shirt during his 12-minute rant, which was met with laughter from his friends in the room. One of the unnamed males in the video clearly shouts “Trent and Ma’lik raped a girl” from off-camera.
Attorney Dennis McNamara has been hired to represent Nodianos and gave a press conference Monday in an attempt to fend off what the family feels has been an unfair amount of bad press. McNamara told reporters “there’s a reason the words ‘young’ and ‘stupid’ often appear in the same sentence,” but did say Nodianos would not be charged in the rape, claiming the information he relays in the video was what he overheard from other people that night.