(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) — The two teenage football players charged with raping a passed out 16-year-old girl in the small town of Steubenville, Ohio in August are scheduled to go on trial this week.
The two football players, 16 and 17-years old, have both plead not guilty to the charges.
The case has gained national attention because three other high school students, two of them also football players for Steubenville High School’s beloved “Big Red” football team, took photographs and video of the attack, which were released by the Internet group Anonymous.
There is widespread outrage that the three students who filmed the incident are not facing any charges themselves. Police say there is nothing they can do legally.
A few days after the video’s release, allegedly made by a student that appeared to show him joking about the attack only hours after it had happened, an estimated 1,300 protestors showed up at Jefferson County Courthouse to rally in support of the victim and call for additional charges against the teenagers who were witness to the alleged attack.
“Charge them all,” protesters chanted.
Town officials are have taken defensive action, having been subject to intense scrutiny and accused of covering up the crime. In January they launched Steubenville Facts, a website designed purely to combat perceived rumors about the case.
With the trial scheduled to start this week and after a judge refused to change the trial location, officials are again prepping for the glare of the media spotlight to descend on the town.
In a press conference last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the lead persecutor on the case, told reporters that additional charges may be brought against the other teenagers after this trial concludes. He estimated the case would last between three to four days.
“The worst thing about the crime in Steubenville, and it was a crime, was not that it was so ugly and horrible and disgusting, but that it was ordinary,” Jacqueline Hillyer of the Ohio chapter of the National Organization of Women said at a protest. “It happens all the time across the state, across the country in high schools and people don’t intervene.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Kathryn Vasel, CNN Newswire