Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his staff have met with the family repeatedly and have devoted an extensive amount of time and resources to the special grand jury investigation that concluded with the charges announced Monday, Mr. Fitzsimmons said.
“The time and effort that they spent is something we’re really thankful for,” he said.
Two Steubenville High players, Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond, were found delinquent in the rape during a juvenile proceeding in March. A special grand jury was empaneled a month later in Jefferson County and heard from 123 witnesses over 18 days as it delved into whether additional charges should be filed in the case.
Monday’s announcement follows charges filed in October against Steubenville schools’ director of technology, William Rhinaman, 53, of Mingo Junction, on felony counts of tampering with evidence, perjury and obstructing justice and a misdemeanor count of obstructing official business.
“This community has suffered so much. I personally feel for the citizens and what they have endured. And I know that they desperately need to be able to put this matter behind them,” Mr. DeWine said in a statement Monday. “All of us — no matter where we live — owe it to each other to be better neighbors, classmates, friends, parents and citizens. We must treat rape and sexual assault as the serious crime of violence that it is. And when it is investigated, everyone has an obligation to help find the truth, not hide the truth, not tamper with the truth, not obstruct the truth and not destroy the truth.”
Mr. Fitzsimmons said his client, now 17, has returned to school, where she is an honor student, participates in sports and was elected by her classmates to the homecoming court. She remains in counseling, however, and occasionally copes with difficult “moments,” he said.
“This is a really strong family that’s united. Because of that they’ve gone through it together. They’ve tried to turn it into a positive message for women,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said.
With the grand jury’s work finished, Mr. Fitzsimmons said the community and school system can also turn a page.
“It kind of defines the scope of the individuals allegedly responsible for criminal conduct,” he said. “They can correct any things they have found to be deficient as to their procedures and what’s required of the adults that oversee these children.”