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General News    H2'ed 3/26/13

Stewing in Steubenville

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By William Boardman  


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[NOTE:  Google "Steubenville Rape Case" and you can get as many as 652 million results in about a quarter-second.  This report draws on a limited sample of what seem to be some of the more credible documentation and reporting of a case that is clearly characterized by claims of non-cooperation and threats from people on almost all sides of the complex of issues roiling on and below the surface a community struggling over whether or not to come to terms with itself honestly.] 



A Scapegoat is One Who Quietly Takes the Fall to Protect Others 


If the rape convictions of two Steubenville, Ohio, juveniles in juvenile court turn out to be the end of the story, as some perhaps hopefully predict, then justice will be only partly served and the Steubenville community cover-up will have proved largely effective, justice will have been mostly obstructed. 


The verdict and sentencing of March 17, following a three day trial, leaves little reason to think that Trent Mays, 17, or Ma'lik Richmond, 16, are innocent in any meaningful sense.  What they did to a 16 year old girl from another town was clearly unconscionable as well as criminal.   But there is also ample reason to consider the possibility that they are not only guilty but, at the same time, scapegoats -- taking the rap so that dozens of others in the community may escape accountability. 


Who else should be held accountable for the horrible sequence of events during a drunken pre-season Big Red football team all-night celebration?  The criminal possibilities surely include those who watched a felony in progress and did nothing, or those who learned of a felony committed and did nothing -- categories that include an unknown number of parents, all the party hosts, perhaps all of the football coaches, and most of the players and their girlfriends, friends, and relatives -- all possibly part of a widening circle of knowledgeable bystanders during or after the fact, almost all of whom who did nothing, when they weren't mocking or attacking the victim. 

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
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