Adults Have Responsibility
Two high school football players in Circleville, Ohio, have been charged with pandering obscenity involving a minor. They were turned in by their coach.
The episode is in stark contrast to what allegedly happened last year in Steubenville, after two high school football players raped a girl. Cell phone photographs of the victim were circulated.
Both boys in the Steubenville assault were convicted and sentenced to juvenile detention facilities. Soon after that happened, a special Jefferson County grand jury was empaneled to look into whether adults knew of the crime but violated state law requiring them to report it to authorities.
Grand jurors have been meeting off and on for months. But on Monday they returned an indictment – against William Rhinaman, director of technology for Steubenville City Schools.
Rhinaman is accused of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is behind the continuing investigation, had something interesting – and, in a way, unsettling – to say after he announced Rhinaman had been indicted.
“This is the first indictment in an ongoing grand jury investigation,” DeWine remarked. He seemed to be implying more indictments will follow.
In Circleville, the boys, now 17 and 18 years old, are accused of videotaping a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl last year. Their football coach became aware of the crime and immediately informed law enforcement authorities. He did the right thing.
If grand jurors and DeWine are right, at least some adults aware of the Steubenville rape did the wrong thing – possibly attempting to cover up the crime, rather than report it.
Rhinaman is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. But if he committed the acts grand jurors allege, he should be punished severely. The same goes for any other adults who were involved in attempts to cover for the two rapists.