AG discusses special grand jury in rape case

STEUBENVILLE – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday afternoon no specific date has been set for a special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case to meet again.

The last time the grand jury convened in Jefferson County was in August.

“This can’t get over soon enough for me. This grand jury has been meeting for so long. But it will come back with the truth,” DeWine told reporters prior to a special round table discussion with law enforcement officials at the Eastern Gateway Community College Pugliese Training Center.

“I think for there to be closure for the community we have to have some definitive answers or we need to be able to say we can’t get those,” DeWine continued during a 15-minute press conference.

Seventeen-year-old Trent Mays of Bloomingdale and 16-year-old Ma’Lik Richmond were found delinquent of rape charges in March by retired Juvenile Judge Thomas Lipps. Mays also was found delinquent of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for having a photo of the victim in an ongoing text message on his cell phone.

The charges stemmed from the rape of a 16-year-old Weirton girl in August 2012.

Richmond was sentenced to one year in a Department of Youth Services, and Mays was sentenced to two years in a youth detention center.

Within minutes of the judge’s verdict DeWine held a press conference at the Jefferson County Justice Center where he announced he was calling for a special grand jury to investigate all aspects of the case and whether others should be charged.

The special grand jury was seated on April 15 and has met 10 times since.

“I’m sorry it’s gone on so long but my commitment to the community was that we would come back with the truth and it would be definitive and that would be it. Frankly I don’t want to speculate and tell you how soon it’s going to be and not live up to that commitment.” said DeWine.

“The community is looking for closure on this issue and we need definitive answers or we need to say we can’t give those definitive answers,” stated DeWine.

The grand jury adjourned in August after three consecutive days, and DeWine said in August that forensic work involving cell phones and computers had yet to be completed.

One of the key issues before the grand jury is whether adults who are required to report crimes knew early on of the rape last August but didn’t say anything.