Judge Named To Sexual Assault Case

The Ohio Supreme Court appointed a retired Hamilton County juvenile judge to preside over the cases of two Steubenville High School students charged in a sexual assault earlier this month.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor informed Jefferson County Juvenile Court on Wednesday that Judge Thomas Raymond Lipps was appointed to the case. Jefferson County Juvenile Judge Sam Kerr recused himself from the case on Monday.

Criminal charges were filed Friday against a 16-year-old Bloomingdale resident on one count of rape, one count of kidnapping and one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. Also charged Friday was a 16-year-old Steubenville resident, who faces one count of rape and one count of kidnapping.

The Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion in juvenile court for both to be bound over to adult court if probable cause is found they committed the crimes. If probable cause is found, the court will conduct a study to determine if the juveniles are amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin also recused herself from the case Monday because she said she personally knows individuals involved in the investigation.

Hanlin said two attorneys – Associate Assistant Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter and Associate Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Brumby- from the Ohio Attorney General’s Crimes Against Children unit have been appointed as special assistant prosecutors for the county.