Evidence suggests Steubenville High School football coach Reno Saccoccia may have tried to shield two of his players from being prosecuted after finding out that they had sexually assaulted a teenage girl. A grand jury will review the case next month.
Saccoccia is just one of the Steubenville coaches, parents and students who could face criminal charges. He has won three state championships and has been inducted into the Ohio Coaches Hall of Fame. A petition calling for Saccoccia to be fired has been circulating the Internet.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will use the grand jury to investigate whether people who knew what happened to the girl failed to report the incident or attempted to cover it up.
“You cannot bring finality to this without the convening of a grand jury,” DeWine said on Sunday. "We have 16 witnesses who would not talk to us."
The two players who were charged with raping the girl, “Big Red” quarterback Trent Mays, 17, and receiver Ma'Lik Richmond, were found guilty.
According to the NY Daily News, Cathy Davison, the Steubenville city manager, is supportive of the grand jury. "Football is important in Steubenville, but I think overall if you looked at the community in and of itself, it's the education process, the moral fiber of our community, and the heritage of our community, that is even more important," Davison said.
Duke associate vice-provost Donna Lisker teaches a gender and sports seminar at the university. She knows a thing or two about these types of situations given the scandal with the university’s Lacrosse team.
“I do think about how heroic these young people could have been, had more of those people in that room intervened, and said, ‘This is not OK, you need to stop this. She's vulnerable and helpless at this point. We need to get her out of here,’” Lisker said. “Those are opportunities for heroism that were missed. I know that at Duke, we're really focusing on what we call ‘bystander intervention’ — and we have a program for that. That is something we really want to teach."