TODAY   |  March 20, 2013

Ohio attorney general vows ‘to protect’ rape victim

Mike DeWine, attorney general of Ohio, talks about his plan to convene a grand jury in April to determine if additional criminal charges should be filed in the rape of a teenage girl, saying “we’re sick and tired of the victim being victimized.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> mike dewine is the attorney general of ohio . sir, good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> let's start with these new charges. are you trying to send a message?

>> you know, the victim continues to be victimized. she has been victimized by the act itself. she's had to go through the court proceeding , but it's been horrible for her family to look at these things that have been posted, and so freedom of speech is fine, first amendment is wonderful, but these two individuals crossed the line. you cannot under ohio law threaten to kill someone.

>> let me ask you this --

>> we're not going to tolerate it, and we're not going to put up with it.

>> the defense attorney for one of these young women said in fact she does not know the victim and did not send the message to her and she says prosecutors have overcharged here because of the scrutiny. your response to that?

>> my response is 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 . you know, imagine going through a rape and then having to see things on the internet that are totally obnoxious, and now, not only that, now she is threatened and her life is threatened. no one should have to put up with that.

>> in fact, you are also convening a grand jury looking into whether there are additional charges against additional individuals that may be appropriate. my question to you is, i know that in ohio it is a felony to fail to report a crime. is that the most serious crime you're looking into or does it go deeper? is it more serious, a potential coverup?

>> well, just one point. it is not a felony, unfortunately. it is a fourth-degree misdemeanor which is a low misdemeanor to knowingly not report a felony, but we're looking at everything. i think i owe the steubenville community two things. one is to try to get this thing over with as quickly as we can but two, to do it the right way and leave no stone unturned. people need to feel that justice was done and that no one was obstructing justice in any way, so our investigation and the grand jury which is really a continuation of what we've begun, we've already interviewed 60 witnesses, i felt based on my experience as a prosecutor he needed to conclude this by going to a grand jury where we can bring witnesses in, where the citizens of jeffersever jefferson county c an listen to the evidence and that's what we're trying to do to see if there's anyone else who failed to report a crime or obstructed justice or committed a crime.

>> do you have a particular target in this grand jury investigation, specifically are you looking at the football coach here?

>> no, no. i think that would be a mistake to think we're looking specifically at the football coach or coaches. there's 27 coaches, actually, on the football team for the football team , but we're looking at every aspect of this. rape case is over with. these two individuals have been found guilty, that's, clearly the correct verdict but we're looking to see was there any other crime committed surrounding this rape and we're not going into any preconceived notions and we may come out with indictments and we may not. we'll see where the evidence takes us.

>> ohio attorney general mike dewine thank you for your time, we appreciate it.