Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says law enforcement officials began investigating several locations involved with the Steubenville High School rape case today.
Search warrants were executed for Steubenville High School, Steubenville school board offices, and a northeast-Ohio digital investigations company that worked on the rape case. DeWine says the investigations are being carried out to ensure that no school authorities helped cover up or minimize any details involved with the case.
"What I hope people will believe when we're done is that we did everything we could to find the truth and that justice was done," DeWine said. “What you're seeing today is just part of that effort."
The case, which found two teenage boys guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl, has been surrounded by accusations that school officials failed to report the rape once they were aware of it. Under particularly strong scrutiny is head football coach Reno Saccoccia. Text messages that were revealed during the March trial indicate that Saccoccia may have known about the assault early on yet failed to report it. Saccoccia’s contract with the school was renewed on Monday.
Police officers and investigators began searching the properties around 2 p.m. today and may continue working late into the night. A presiding judge has already sealed any evidence that may surface from the searches. The judge said that revealing any findings at this time "would be detrimental to the ongoing criminal investigation.”
The searches are happening just days before a 14-person grand jury will begin hearing witness testimonies on the crime. The grand-jury, seated two weeks ago, will begin hearings next Tuesday.
DeWine announced the need for a grand-jury immediately following the March trial’s conclusion. At the time, DeWine said he had “reached the conclusion that this investigation cannot be completed, simply cannot be completed … without the convening of a grand jury.”