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March 19, 2013

Ohio attorney general could target football coach

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The head football coach at Steubenville High School and the owners of a house where an infamous 12-minute video was filmed could be investigated as Ohio prosecutors look into how adults responded to allegations of rape last year.

One day after a judge convicted two high school football players of raping the 16-year-old girl in August, Steubenville's top official said she welcomed a new, wide-ranging probe into possible wrongdoing connected with the rape.

The announcement of the guilty verdict was barely an hour old Sunday when state Attorney General Mike DeWine said he was continuing his investigation and would consider charges against anyone who failed to speak up after the summertime attack. That group could include other teens, parents, school officials and coaches for the high school's beloved football team, which has won nine state championships.

Authorities also said they won't put up with people harassing the accuser and took action Monday to prove it, arresting two girls suspected of threatening her well-being in Facebook and Twitter comments Sunday. The Jefferson County girls, ages 15 and 16, were being held in juvenile detention, Steubenville police Capt. Joel Walker said.

The older girl was charged with aggravated menacing for a tweet that threatened homicide and said "you ripped my family apart," according to the attorney general's office. A Facebook posting from the younger girl threatened the accuser with bodily harm, leading to a menacing charge, the office said.

"These arrests, I hope, will end the harassment of the victim," DeWine said. "We are simply not going to tolerate this. Enough is enough."

The case brought international attention to the small city of 18,000 and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the Steubenville High School football team.

According to trial testimony, one of the two football players said the coach knew about what happened and "took care of it."

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