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Ohio attorney general: Girls who threatened rape victim 'crossed the line'

March 20, 2013 at 8:38 AM ET

The Ohio attorney general pledged Wednesday to continue investigating the Steubenville rape case, leaving “no stone unturned” until his team is certain no other crimes were committed.

“We’re looking at everything. I think I owe the Steubenville community two things. One is try to get this thing over with as quickly as I can, and two, to do it the right way and to leave no stone unturned,” he told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “I think people need to feel that justice was done and that no one was obstructing justice in any way.”

Last Sunday, two Steubenville High School players were found guilty of raping a severely intoxicated 16-year-old girl after she had passed out.

A day later after the verdict, Ohio authorities arrested two teenage girls for allegedly using social media to threaten the victim. One of the girls threatened homicide because the victim “ripped my family apart.” The other suspect promised to “celebrate” by beating up the victim.

DeWine said both instances were unacceptable.

“Freedom of speech is fine. First amendment is wonderful, but these two individuals crossed the line,” DeWine said. “You cannot, under Ohio law, threaten to kill someone. And we’re not going to tolerate it. And we’re not going to put up with it.”

He also dismissed the idea that the arrests were an attempt to send a message about the case.

“We’re sick and tired of the victim being victimized. We have to protect the victim. We’re going to take whatever action it takes to protect this young lady,” he said.

“Imagine going through a rape and then having to see things on the Internet that are totally obnoxious. Now she is threatened. Her life is being threatened. No one should have to put up with that.”

Social media has played a key role throughout the case, as investigators used photos, messages and videos posted by the two convicted teens and their friends to chronicle what happened the night of Aug. 11, 2012.

Investigators continue to examine evidence in their wide-ranging inquiry, but DeWine said his team is not targeting anyone specifically, including leaders of the Steubenville high school team.

“I think it would be a mistake to think we’re specifically looking at the football coach, or coaches – there’s 27 coaches actually on the football team. We’re looking at every aspect of this,” he said.

“We’re looking to see was there any other crimes committed surrounding this rape. We’re not going into it with any preconceived notions and we may come out with indictments and we may not.

“We’ll see where the evidence takes us,” he said.

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