City Leaders Cite the Positives

STEUBENVILLE – City officials plan to conduct business as usual during the high-profile rape trial of two Steubenville High School students that begins today.

City leaders held a press conference Tuesday to address issues that arose during pretrial proceedings, as well as their expectations for the coming days.

“We have invited the media here today because of the inquiries on how the city is reacting to this case and what the city has done because of the unparalleled scrutiny of this case,” City Manager Cathy Davison said. “‘The police did their job and when they realized they needed help, they called the (Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation).

“We created the website and received 250,000 visitors in the first two months,” she continued. “Our city is more than this case. Our community has come together and we are stronger.”

Police Chief Bill McCafferty said he does not anticipate any problems this week as the trial gets under way in Jefferson County Juvenile Court at the Jefferson County Justice Center.

“We have not received any requests for a street closing for any sort of protest,” McCafferty said. “We do not anticipate any problems, but will be ready to react if a problem happens. And I have to say we are getting a lot of good feedback from our citizens on our handling of the case.”

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce President Sue Hershey said the community “wants to see justice prevail.”

‘Our community has been painted with a very broad brush. We support all athletic events in our community along with the bands, plays and other events,” she said. “Our United Way campaign just surpassed the half-million dollar mark. Our community is a great place to live and work.”

Davison and the other officials declined to discuss the case that has brought national attention to the city. The two student-athletes are accused of raping a Weirton girl following a series of summer parties.