STEUBENVILLE - The man featured in an Internet video making callous comments about an alleged rape victim is ashamed and embarrassed of his behavior, and the negative attention he subsequently received forced him to withdraw from college, according to attorney Dennis McNamara.
The man was absent from a press conference McNamara held Monday at the Best Western in Steubenville. The Columbus lawyer addressed the video and the backlash his client and his client's family received after its release, as well as the young man's character and culpability in the alleged crime.
The video was made on the night of the alleged rape, McNamara said, but not at the home where the crimes occurred and the young man did not witness the acts. His client did not know the 16-year-old alleged victim prior to the crime, either, McNamara said.
The 18-year-old and the girl were among those attending an unsupervised party on the night of the alleged crime. Both were drinking alcohol and became intoxicated, according to McNamara. His client left the home later that night and was momentarily at another residence with the girl before he arrived at the home where the video was made, McNamara added.
"Mike DeWine, the Ohio attorney general ... described (the video) as disgusting, and that's probably as good an adjective as any to use," McNamara said. "I think I would add disappointing, insensitive and unfortunate."
He said two juveniles who witnessed the alleged crime returned to the home where his client was and told him about what they allegedly had seen two 16-year-old Steubenville High School student-athletes do to the unconscious girl. McNamara's client, also a Steubenville High School graduate, then cracked jokes about the crime while another person filmed him with his cell phone.
"There's no excuse or justification for the comments and jokes (he) made on the video, and with some sober reflection, he is ashamed and embarrassed to hear them himself," McNamara said. "He sincerely regrets his behavior and his comments and the effect that it's had on all the parties involved, including his own family. He was not raised to act in this manner."
Steubenville police confiscated the young man's phone, and he answered all of the detectives' questions truthfully during an interview at police headquarters days after the alleged crime, McNamara said. He also does not believe the young man committed a crime by not reporting the alleged rape.
"I'm not here as an attorney in the sense of defending him," McNamara noted. "I'm just a spokesperson for his family. They didn't know who to call ... so they called and said, 'What do you suggest?'"
Through its Twitter account, the same forum the young man used to post insensitive remarks about the alleged crime, Ohio State University announced Monday that he is no longer a student at the school. McNamara said it was his client's decision to withdraw from the university due to the backlash against himself and his family.
Computer hackers broke into the man's university e-mail account, McNamara noted. Others were wandering the halls of his dorm looking for the man, he added. They also hijacked his parents' e-mail and cell phones, as well as his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
In the 12-minute video, the man laughs while cracking crude jokes and says the alleged victim is "deader than" Caylee Anthony and O.J. Simpson's wife, among others. Witnesses testified that the girl was intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness.
The video reportedly was posted to YouTube on the same night or shortly after the alleged crime occurred in August. It was quickly removed before it was again uploaded it to the video sharing website last week and attracted national attention.