2-Week Grand Jury Delay

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A grand jury investigating possible additional charges in the rape of a 16-year-old girl won’t hear from witnesses for about two weeks after it is convened Monday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in an interview.

DeWine, without offering further details, said the delay relates to his office’s continuing evaluation of evidence.

“We have to do this right,” DeWine said Thursday. “We are still evaluating and going through some evidence and we do not want to start this process until we have done that.”

He said the decision was made to get the seating of the grand jury out of the way first, and said that would most likely conclude Monday.

A judge last month convicted two Steubenville high school football players of raping the girl after an alcohol-fueled party in August.

Immediately after the verdict, DeWine announced that he would convene a Jefferson County grand jury to investigate whether other laws were violated. One avenue the grand jury is likely to explore is whether other people knew about the rape but failed to report it.

That could include members of the football team’s coaching staff. Testimony at trial indicated that head football coach Reno Saccoccia may have known early on about the allegation. Saccoccia has not commented and the school district has said it won’t comment until after the grand jury investigation.

Numerous teenagers including the victim were drinking at the party that night, with testimony indicating many of them brought alcohol to the house where the party was held.

Asked Thursday if the grand jury would consider charges related to underage drinking, DeWine said everything is being looked at.

“There will be nothing that is beyond the bounds of the grand jury,” he said.