Ensure Adults Uphold Trust

Some good may be coming from the infamous “Steubenville rape” case. Perhaps its after-effects, still not fully settled, will prompt more adults to do the right thing.

A special Jefferson County grand jury has been investigating the case for months. It is scheduled to meet again in mid-August.

Two teenage boys convicted in the assault already have begun serving their sentences. Meanwhile, the grand jury is looking into other aspects of the crime. Specifically, whether adults who were aware of the rape failed to report it to the authorities is in question.

Meanwhile, another investigation into sordid accusations is under way in Columbus. There, a former high school choir director has been arrested on child sex charges.

Police say the man, Zachary R. Ruppel, 26, solicited sex and nude pictures from some students at St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus. At the time, Ruppel also was a member of the staff of the Ohio State Fair choir. He allegedly offered high school students membership in the choir in exchange for sex and nude pictures.

Sadly, such accusations are not uncommon. But what is unusual about this one is that the state fair choir director, Charles R. Snyder, was put on leave July 11 by the event’s manager – because of the investigation.

A Columbus police sergeant said investigators are looking into whether “those responsible for reporting these offenses did so as required by law.” Snyder has not been cleared, the officer added.

If Ruppel is guilty, he should be convicted and punished severely. But if anyone involved with the fair and/or schools was aware of his alleged crime and did not notify police, they, too, should be brought to justice.

It is bad enough when adults abuse their authority to victimize children. But when other adults cover up such crimes, some youngsters begin to wonder if there is anywhere they can turn for help.

In Steubenville and anywhere else there is a question in that regard, law enforcement agencies should be relentless in investigating whether breaches of the law – and the moral imperative to stand with victimized children rather than against them – have occurred. If so, punishment should be swift, severe and certain.