“Big Red” quarterback Trent Mays admitted in text messages that he used his hand to penetrate a 16-year-old girl and also sent messages to his buddies trying to persuade them to cover up what had happened.
Mays, 17, is one of two Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players accused of raping a West Virginia girl last summer. The other defendant is 16-year-old wide receiver Ma’Lik Richmond. Both players have been charged. Mays is also facing a charge of child pornography because he took photos of the victim that eventually leaked to social media.
“Just say she came to your house and passed out,” Mays texted the friend who hosted the party where the incident occurred. Defense lawyers for the young men are saying that the sex was consensual, but witnesses have said that girl was so wasted that she vomited and had difficulty walking and talking, according to The Daily News.
She also sent text messages that implied she was drugged. “Swear to God I don’t remember doing anything with them,” the girl wrote in a text message to a boy who supposedly witnessed the assaults. “I wasn’t being a slut. They were taking advantage of me.”
The case has received a lot of attention because some people have claimed that authorities are letting other players who saw what happened off the hook because high school football is such a huge part of the local community. One judge and one prosecutor were forced to recuse themselves from the case because they had connections to the team.
Outside of the courthouse on Thursday, two dozen protesters were holding signs in support of the girl and wearing the masks that have become the symbol of hacktivist group Anonymous. Earlier this year, the group posted a picture of the defendants carrying the girl by her ankles and wrists. If convicted, Mays and Richmond could be imprisoned in a juvenile jail until they turn 21.
Source: The Daily News
Prosecutors in Summit County, Ohio have asked a juvenile judge not to consider a defendant’s IQ when deciding whether he should be tried as an adult. According to a story in the Akron Beacon Journal, 15-year-old Jamal Vaughn, who was just 14 when arrested as an accomplice in a brutal double murder, has an IQ of 70 with minimal reading, math and spelling skills.
Authorities say Vaughn played a part in last year’s “New Franklin murders,” as they are known in the area. The main perpetrator was 18-year-old Shawn Ford, Jr., the former boyfriend of the victims’ daughter. It is alleged Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert were beaten to death with a brick and sledgehammer by the two young men. The motive, police say, was the married couple’s refusal to allow Ford to visit their daughter in the hospital. Cleveland’s Fox 8 News reported that Ford has also been charged in the assault that landed the young girl, Chelsea Schobert, in that hospital bed.
Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio ruled last August that there was sufficient evidence to transfer Vaughn’s aggravated murder case to adult court. State law, however, requires that an “amenability hearing” be held to decide if Vaughn is capable of rehabilitation in a juvenile detention facility if he is convicted.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi says Vaughn is not.
“What is it we’re rehabilitating? He has a low IQ,” LoPrinzi told the judge in closing arguments Tuesday, “and we’re not going to change that.”
A court psychologist testified at the hearing that Vaughn was being treated for depression over the breakup of his parents. However, there was no other psychological or emotional issue that could be documented or treated according to the professional.
Vaughn’s attorney, Adam VanHo, painted his client as a victim of Ford’s coercion, calling Ford a “monster.”
“If Shawn Ford wasn’t there that night,” VanHo told the court, “none of us would be here in this courtroom and the Schoberts would still be at home.”
He also argued that Vaughn is not emotionally or physically mature enough to withstand time in adult prison.
“To put him into that prison system,” VanHo said, “is to essentially give him a death sentence.”
The judge did not give a deadline for her ruling, but said she would issue a written decision after considering all testimony as well as Vaughn’s school records.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is arguing in the U.S. Supreme Court that Ohio’s election law banning candidates from making false statements with malice is unconstitutional.
DeWine says the law has a “chilling” impact on free speech and on organizations that want to advertise against a candidate, according to legal filings.
“Ohio law prohibits the use of false statements in both candidate campaigns and ballot issue campaigns,” reads the website of Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler. “Included in statute are specific prohibitions against making false statements about a candidate’s schooling or training, indictments or convictions, treatment for a mental illness or voting record as a public official.”
DeWine argues that the law “polices not just false speech, but speech that indisputably is protected under the First Amendment.”
The legal challenge involves a case in which a political action committee was accused of violating state election laws by making false statements in a tweet, as well as another case in which a billboard owner refused to put up a nonprofit’s sign after the candidate it criticized, former Rep. Steve Driehaus, Democrat, filed a complaint with the state elections commission.
DeWine says the law intimidates opponents and makes them waste time and money responding to complaints.
“The speaker is forced to use time and resources responding to the complaint, typically at the exact moment that the campaign is peaking and his time and resources are best used elsewhere,” DeWine wrote. “In other words, the state has constructed a process that allows its enforcement mechanisms to be used to extract a cost from those seeking to speak out on elections, right at the most crucial time for that particular type of speech. And if the allegations turn out to be unfounded, there is no possibility of timely remedy.”
A gay couple filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday claiming they were unable to obtain family health insurance because their state, Ohio, does not recognize same-sex marriage, according to Reuters.
Alfred Cowger and Anthony Wesley have been a couple since 1986 and were married in New York State in 2012. They have a daughter who was adopted in 2006 according to the suit. The family of three had previously been covered by the same family health insurance policy, purchased from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio.
Their suit names the U.S. government and the state of Ohio as defendants and charges that their constitutional rights were violated because neither party recognizes their marital status.
Although the couple, and their daughter, had previously been covered as a family new rules in President Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), make that policy invalid. Cowger and Wesley had previously been assured by Anthem that they would be able to remain under their old policy after December of 2013 but received a letter in November stating the policy had been terminated “because it was not in compliance with the ACA.”
Cowger claims he repeatedly tried to purchase a new policy through the ACA’s website healthcare.gov.
"However, each time, Cowger would ultimately be told that it was determined that plaintiffs could not purchase a family policy since their legal marriage in New York, recognized as valid for federal tax purposes, was not deemed valid to obtain a family policy under the ACA," the suit said.
The couple is puzzled as to why they are able to file a joint tax return but cannot purchase family health insurance under the president’s healthcare plan, commonly called Obamacare.
The issue in Ohio will likely not be an isolated incident as same-sex marriage gains steam around the country. Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia recognize the right for gay couples to marry. A judge in nearby Kentucky recently ruled that that state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Cowger and Wesley will likely have to wait for such reform in their state. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week that gay marriage advocates won’t push the issue in Ohio until 2016 when they feel there will be sufficient voter support.
Fact: it’s illegal to have a hidden compartment in your car in Ohio.
Norman Gurley, 30, was arrested last Fall for having what officers called a “hidden compartment” in his car. He was the first Ohio resident to be arrested under the law despite the fact that the compartment was completely empty.
Gurley was pulled over by an Ohio state trooper for speeding last November. The trooper claimed he smelled the “overwhelming odor of raw marijuana” when Gurley rolled down his window. The officer then spent hours searching Gurley’s car for drugs but found none.
During the search, the officer found a non-factory cut out section in Gurley’s trunk. The section was covered by the car’s interior plastics and could potentially be used to store a number of things. Although there were no drugs or other illegal items in the box, Gurley was arrested under an Ohio statute that makes it a crime to “knowingly operate…a vehicle with a hidden compartment…used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment…of a controlled substance.”
California, Georgia, Oregon, and Oregon have similar statutes in place. Several more states are contemplating following suit.
It’s not hard to see how the law could cause law-abiding citizens to be charged with a crime. A compartment like Gurley’s could serve a perfectly legitimate purpose as a place to hold cash and other valuables. Someone owning a used car could be completely unaware that the previous owner of their vehicle cut out a hidden compartment in the car.
Despite the seemingly obvious problems with the law, Ohio law enforcement officers enthusiastically endorse it. State Highway Patrol officer Michael Combs was interviewed by WKYC about the statute following Gurley’s controversial arrest. Here’s what he had to say.
“This takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade,” he said. “The law does help us and is on our side.”
Arrests have been made in the beating and robbing of a disabled army veteran on an Ohio bus.
The accused are three teenagers, Kenneth Matthews, Ronald Reid Williams, and an unnamed 16-year-old girl who allegedly filmed the attack on her cellphone.
As many as eight teenagers are believed to have been involved in the mob attack on Matthew Robinson.
Robinson claims the teens followed him off the bus before attacking him, stealing his belongings and yelling racial slurs, reports CBS Cleveland.
“What they were saying was, ‘Knock that boy out!’ ‘White boy.’ ‘Cracker,’” Robinson said. “They were saying, ‘Knock that white boy out.’”
Bystanders refused to help Robinson, reports the Daily Mail.
“The whole time I'm just thinking, pretty much protect myself and don't let anybody in behind you. No one stepped in to help, so I thought it was a shame,” Robinson said.
This is not the first act of recent violence in the area. A teen was brutally beaten last month in the Public Square and police have regularly been patrolling the area to thwart further violence.
Robinson adds regarding the attack: “'I think there should be jail time for assaults. Who's to say that your mother or sister couldn't be on the bus, and the same thing could happen to them.”
A Columbus, Ohio school bus driver who caused a boy to suffer whiplash and a concussion after driving drunk has been sentenced to five days in jail for the November incident.
Tia Denton was driving her normal school bus on November 25 of last year when she was pulled over for driving erratically. Denton blew into a Breathalyzer and her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.216 percent, well above the legal limit in Ohio.
Denton was initially convicted to 180 days in jail, but a judge reduced her sentence to only five days. The parents of the child who suffered the injuries said that while they respected the judge’s decision, they didn’t exactly understand it.
“I respect the judge’s decision,” said the boy’s mother Angela Williams “As far as satisfaction, I don’t know yet. We’re still trying to process everything.” Her husband Dion added that they would be happy, “if this never happens again to another Columbus school student.”
The students on the bus at the time of the incident reportedly yelled out the windows, ““She’s going to kill us! She’s going to kill us,” as the Denton sped through the streets.
“I cannot express my regret and my remorse for what I have cost you and your children and families who are not represented here in court,” said Denton during the sentencing. ““They [Columbus schools] gave me a position of trust and I betrayed it.”
In addition to her five-day prison sentence, Denton is also required to complete two years of probation as well as six months in an in-patient program for alcoholism.
A 65-year-old man in Ohio, who allegedly told neighborhood kids he was Santa Claus, was sentenced to 20 years in prison when authorities found child pornography in his home.
William Brock Sr. pleaded guilty to 35 child porn charges and admitted he had sexual fantasies about young girls in his community as he watched them play softball.
Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Gabe Wildman told the court Brock’s computer was “filled with child pornography, thousands [of images] to be specific.”
One of the videos in Brock’s possession included an 8-year-old girl being raped by his girlfriend, Connie Ramirez, in 2012.
Ramirez, a 43-year-old preschool teacher was sentenced in September to 25 years in prison for raping two young girls, including a relative. Investigators found sexually explicit images of Ramirez with a dog on her cellphone.
Brock was arrested on July 19 in Niles, Ohio. He was wearing bright red pants, like a Santa Claus costume, with no shirt.
“The ick and creep factor was off the charts,” Wildman told Vindy.com about the case.
There was no evidence that Brock, a professional photographer, has sexually assaulted the children, prosecutors said.
His neighbors allege that he spoke to neighborhood kids and told them he was “Jolly Old Saint Nick.”
He was given a polygraph test that detected deception when he said he has never had any “hands-on” activity with children, Wildman said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 76 percent of pornography offenders have molested a child, Wildman noted.
He says 20 years in prison is a long sentence in a child porn case.
Brock, who faced more than 100 years in prison for the 35 counts, won’t be getting out of jail before the age of 85.
Sally Fuentes adopted Tyson, described as an American Bulldog, only three months ago. On Sunday afternoon, the dog suddenly attacked two children in the family.
Alison, 9, said the attack started outside the home a in the 600 block of North Maple Street in Lancaster, Ohio, after Noah threw a snowball at one of his siblings.
“I was trying to get (the dog) off of (Noah) and my mom helped me, then he came after me,” she said. “Noah ran to the car dripping blood and I ran inside,” the little girl said.
Both siblings were admitted into Fairfield Medical Center and subsequently transferred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, according to the Marion Star.
“Noah has stitches and a drainage tube.” Fuentes said, adding that the dog also tore through his muscle.
Allison sustained more severe injuries. “They had to operate on both of her arms. There were holes in her arm,” Sandra Fuentes said.
Neighbors came over to help contain the dog, as Fuentes called Lancaster police. When officers arrived, Tyson was very aggressive toward them and they used a Taser after he charged one officer and tried to bite his leg.
The Fairfield County Dog Warden was called to impound the bulldog and place him under quarantine “to ensure rabies wasn’t a factor,” the Marion Star states.
“They’re putting him down (today),” Sandra Fuentes said.
Noah, a 7th-grade Bloom Carroll student, said he is afraid of large dogs as a result, but will miss the family pet. “I’m going to kind of miss the dog, but he did hurt us,” he said.
The Fuentes family got Tyson from a family in Pleasantville that also had children. They said the “lacked space” to care for the dog.
The family told Sandra Fuentes after the attack that in the three years they owned him, they had never seen aggression from the dog. They said they were sorry they “re-homed him.”
“He just snapped,” Fuentes said. “I was hitting him in the head with a rock to get him to stop and it didn’t even faze him.”
Fairfield County Dog Warden Todd McCullough said when the dog was brought in to the Fairfield County Dog Shelter, it continued being aggressive and workers were unable to remove its leash.
Source: Marion Star
An Ohio man who admitted to watching porn and masturbating with a young boy will not face any criminal charges, according to the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office. The man, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Ricky Vitte Jr., recently admitted to his wife that he had masturbated with a young boy during two instances five years ago. Despite this admission, Sandusy County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean O’Connell maintained that Vitte Jr.’s sexual activity could not be deemed as misconduct.
Vitte Jr. and the boy allegedly watched porn while a dresser blocked the man and the boy from seeing each other. Vitte Jr. claims that he was attempting to teach the boy about sex, and that they did not have any sexual contact.
“Rick’s reasoning is the fact that he did not want [the boy] to feel pressured on feeling the need to have to have sex with someone, when he can fix those needs by masturbating to porn,” O’Connell told the Sandusky register.
Although Vitte Jr. is not being charged with any sex crimes, he did flee the scene when social workers attempted to interview him about the incident, Raw Story reports.
“He was purposefully fleeing the area to avoid confrontation and or an arrest,” reads a portion of O’Connel’s report on Vitte Jr. Still, however, Vitte Jr. is not being prosecuted on any charges.
Vitte Jr.'s history of abuse includes a charge of domestic violence that took place ten years ago after spanking his girlfriend’s son for wetting the bed. He was ultimately convicted of child endangering.
Vitte Jr.’s wife is reportedly seeking full custody of the couple’s five children as a result of this most recent sexual incident.