, Newburyport, MA


December 10, 2013

Editorial: A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts from editorials in other newspapers across New England:

A decision to charge several Ohio high school officials with trying to cover up the rape of a 16-year-old girl is a stunning example of how adults sometimes put their own interests above those of young sexual assault victims.

In March, a judge convicted two Steubenville High School football players of raping a drunken girl following a football team party.

Other students and football players recorded the crime and posted photos and video online of the unconscious girl. By the next morning, many students were joking about the victim and the attack.

The community of 18,000 was shocked by the incident, and the attack drew national media attention.

After the conviction, Gov. Mike DeWine established a panel to investigate how school officials responded to the attack.

Professionals who deal with children are required by law in every state to report suspected sex abuse. This isn’t an option, it’s a legal obligation.

Prosecutors now allege school officials were more interested in preserving the reputation of their championship football program than bringing the horrific crime to the attention of police.

The high school’s technology director has been charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing police business and perjury for allegedly trying to cover up evidence.

Now charges of felony obstructing justice have been filed against Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Mike McVey. An elementary school principal and a strength coach are charged with failing to report possible child abuse, and a volunteer coach has been charged with making false statements to police.

For too many people who should have known better, the welfare of an assault victim took back seat to other priorities.

The Ohio incident also shows how easily a dismissive attitude toward sex crimes can be transferred from one generation to another.

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