STEUBENVILLE - Criminal charges were officially filed this morning against two 16-year-old Steubenville High School students accusing the pair of rape and kidnapping in connection with a sexual assault last week.
Trent Mays of Bloomingdale faces one charge of rape, one charge of kidnapping and one charge of illegal use of minor and nudity-oriented material. Ma'lik Richmond of Steubenville is charged with one count of rape and one count of kidnapping. Both juveniles will remain in the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center. A court official said no hearing date has been set yet.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said a decision will have to be made whether to keep the case in juvenile court or file a motion to move the case to adult court. The juveniles could be charged as serious youthful offenders and the prosecutor could ask for a blended sentence. In Ohio, serious juvenile offenders receiving a blended sentence serve their sentence in a juvenile detention center and the sentence could carry over into their adulthood if they commits certain acts that indicate rehabilitation has been unsuccessful.
"These juveniles face serious charges of rape and kidnapping. It is distressing to anyone who has children. I can understand the outrage. We are working to make sure justice is served. We want to get to the absolute truth in the case. I understand the public's rush to judgment. This will change peoples' lives forever. We just want to make sure it is done right," said Hanlin.
Hanlin has said she will step aside and ask the Ohio Attorney General's office to prosecute the case because she personally knows juveniles and adults involved in the investigation.
"When we get to the point the prosecution begins, we will determine the best way for justice to be served. The investigation is far from over. We will continue to collect evidence and vigorously work on the case," Hanlin said.
Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty today called for anyone with information about a party where an alleged rape took place to contact the city police department as soon as possible.
"Our detectives are continuing an extensive investigation. They are interviewing people who attended a party where an alleged rape took place. We have confiscated several cell phones and have sent them to the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation where they are being analyzed. This investigation is ongoing," said McCafferty.
Police began an investigation after parents came to the police station on Aug. 14 to report a sexual assault involving their daughter.
Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Mike McVey said the two students were immediately suspended from all extracurricular activities.
"The district intends to fully cooperate with any criminal investigation that may ensue from this situation," said McVey.
Mays is a quarterback on the Steubenville High School football team and also was a wrestler. Richmond is a wide receiver on football team and also was a member of the school's basketball and track and field teams.