TODAY | January 07, 2013
>>> first an alleged crime that has rocked a small town and is making national headlines now. two high school football players in steubenville , ohio, accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. ron allen is there with the story this morning. ron, good morning to you.
>> good morning to you, savannah. this is a very emotional time in this town of some 18,000 people where high school football is a very big deal . two members of the team have been arrested and charged but some think that there's a small town cover-up to protect the football program and other students that may have been involved in the alleged incident. that's why there's growing, passionate calls for more arrests hundreds of protesters descended on steubenville , demanding justice for a 16-year-old girl allegedly raped by two football players.
>> they knew she was drunk.
>> reporter: named publicly in court, faces concealed because they're also 16, have plead not guilty and are scheduled to stand trial next month. that doesn't satisfy the crowd.
>> there was more than two kids involved. the kids that have money in this town have not been arrested.
>> reporter: the case is exploding on social media . images proporting to show the defendants carrying the alleged victim unconscious the night in question. and video showing teenagers making fun of the girl, released by online activists, including the group anonymous, most known for hacking government websites to expose what it sees as wrongdoing. it accuses the town of turning a blind eye to other athletes allegedly involved to protect the town's beloved football team . the big red , perennial state powerhouse and reason for tremendous pride in a community hit by economic decline. police say even though the behavior seen online is offensive, only two young men actually committed a crime.
>> people can say whatever they want on an internet. to take anything to a court of law you have to have evidence.
>> reporter: the town has even created a website, steubenville facts, to rebuff false accusations on the internet. but prosecutors brought in from out of town because everyone here is so connected or devoted to high school football , the investigation continues.
>> it's well along but it's not concluded and it is active and it's ongoing.
>> reporter: defense attorney walter matheson says he wants to move the case away from here to give his client a fair trial .
>> what we have in this county is a legal lynching. and i can't stand for that on my watch.
>> reporter: but the alleged victim's family as well as activists online and in the streets, are determined to hold anyone involved accountable. some activists are threatening cyber attacks, hacking into the personal information of people they think should be charged with a crime. local officials here say they're trying to do what they can to protect the town from those types of attacks. the trial of the two young football players is scheduled to start in about six weeks time. savannah?
>> ron allen in steubenville , ohio, this morning. thank you.