At least three more players from the “Big Red” football team could be facing charges in the Steubenville rape case that has taken over the small community. Only star players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond have been arrested so far and while their trial is scheduled to begin next month, a national outcry has demanded that prosecutors look into the possibility more teens were involved in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl.
That could happen, according to what Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a series of interviews with local media outlets. The potential involvement of Mark Cole, Evan Westlake, and Anthony Craig - named by Ohio’s Times Leader after an Oct. 12 hearing - has been rumored but largely overlooked because of a rumored immunity from prosecutors.
“We have offered nothing, made no promises to any witness in this case. … No deals have been cut with anybody,” DeWine said while refusing to make a statement about any evidence. “We're not going to try this case in the media. We're going to present our case in court, and the judge will make a decision.”
DeWine’s interview came after defense attorneys went to the media saying immunity was granted to friends of Mays and Richmond in return for their testimony, citing previous correspondence from DeWine in October.
In it, the attorney general wrote that Cole, Westlake and Craig, “may not have conducted himself in a responsible or appropriate manner, his behavior did not rise to the level of any criminal conduct.... Therefore, we will not prosecute your client for his actions on August 11-12, 2012.”
During an Occupy Steubenville protest on Jan. 5, organized by the Anonymous hacker collective before it quickly spread through social media and gained traction in the national conversation, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla was jeered when he said no further arrests would be made.
The Steubenville school board has issued a statement encouraging any witnesses to come forward. “By remaining silent, witnesses thwart the work of investigators which may ultimately prevent justice from being served,” the statement said.