Who Furnished The Alcohol?

Two teenage boys were sentenced to prison for the August 2012 rape of a girl in Steubenville. Several adults have been accused of wrongdoing that night and afterward, and some already have been sentenced for their crimes.

But it appears the person or persons who bear enormous responsibility for what happened have not been brought to justice.

Someone furnished alcoholic beverages to the teenagers whose drinking the night of the rape led to the awful crime. Had their judgment not been clouded by alcohol, it is entirely possible the rape never would have occurred.

This week, Matthew Belardine was sentenced to 10 days in jail for allowing teenagers to drink at his parents’ home and for not telling investigators the truth when he was questioned initially about that. It appears at least some of those involved in the rape – along with dozens of other teenagers – attended a party at the Belardine home.

But it was made clear that while Belardine knew the teens were drinking, he did not furnish the alcohol.

Who did?

That remains a question it appears may not be answered. To our knowledge, none of those charged in what has come to be known as “the Steubenville rape case” is accused of selling or giving alcohol to teens.

Many Steubenville residents are sick and tired of the case, in large measure because they as a community have been accused unjustly of trying to sweep the rape under the rug. That is both unfair and untrue. As we reported days after the rape occurred, local law enforcement officials pursued the investigation quickly and, as it turns out, effectively enough that the two boys guilty of rape were convicted.

But it is not time to “give it a rest.” Again, someone provided alcohol to dozens of teenagers that night in August 2012.

Someone set the stage for rape.

Until charges are filed against that person or persons, the case will not be over.

Worse, he, she or they may still be providing alcohol to minors, perhaps setting up an even worse tragedy.