A website that describes itself as the world's largest petition platform posted an online petition calling for the firing of Steubenville High School football coach Reno Saccoccia.
According to the Change.org website, the petition calling for Saccoccia's employment to be terminated was initiated by Elizabeth Beier of Cockeysville, Md.
The petition message refers to Ma'Lik Richmond of Steubenville and Trent Mays of Bloomingdale, who were found delinquent earlier this month for the rape of a 16-year-old Weirton female. Richmond was sentenced to one year and Mays to two years in an Ohio Department of Youth juvenile detention facility by visiting Juvenile Judge Thomas Lipps.
Beier is calling for the petition message to be sent to Steubenville Schools Superintendent Michael McVey, Steubenville High School Principal Shawn Crosier and Steubenville High School Athletic Director Fred Heatherington.
McVey said Tuesday he "supports the athletic program, our coaches and our system."
"We respect the legal system and will wait until the grand jury meets to investigate the case. After the grand jury concludes its work, we will respond appropriately. We have cooperated fully with this investigation and will continue to do so," McVey said.
McVey also said he had heard about Twitter messages calling for a Saturday rally to support Saccoccia, "but no one has contacted our office about holding an event on school property."
The online petition refers to "the tragedy of a 16-year-old girl who was raped by two football players at Steubenville High that horrified America. But to their Coach Reno Saccoccia, the tragedy is not that a teenage girl was raped, but that two of his star players will be jailed for violating her."
The petition claims no players known to have participated in the rape were ever punished by Saccoccia or his staff.
The Change.org website indicates 25,000 people have signed the online petition.