Update 1:24 p.m. Ohio State has now confirmed on its Facebook page that Michael Nodianos, the boy depicted in the 12-minute video making fun of the alleged gang rape victim, is no longer a student there.
If this was the week that the whole country found out about the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in football-crazed Steubenville, Ohio, next week might be the one when the punishments arrive. Steubenville High's famed football coach may resign as soon as Monday, and the recent graduate whose shocking video confession was leaked by hackers who took the case national may be in trouble with his college.
Instagram photos from the night in question emerged almost immediately after the August incident, and today the site LocalLakes, which is partnering with the hacking collective Anonymous to collect eyewitness details and speak truth to rumor, provided a narrative of what it says happened. But the most emotional — and viral — leak out of the so-called The Steubenville Files came in the form of this unsavory video, in which a former Steubenville student is thought to be referring to the victim when he says local football players "raped her more than the Duke lacrosse team":
The YouTube video identifies the speaker as former Steubenville student Michael Nodianos, who according to his Twitter account or someone who had access to it, said some pretty gross things the night of the alleged attack:
Local Leaks and Anonymous tracked Nodianos, now 18, to Ohio State University and released his e-mail and personal information on the Internet, adding that he might have had a gun in his possession during the filming. On Friday afternoon OSU's press office gave in to just how crushing the effects of the viral wave of leaked information has become (many have called for Nodianos's expulsion), releasing the following cryptic statement:
Sexual assault is a terrible act of aggression and violence, and our hearts go out to all victims. The situation in Steubenville is particularly disturbing, and our thoughts are with those affected. To our knowledge, the only students who have been criminally charged in this matter are high school students with no affiliation to Ohio State. To the extent there are inquiries about any Ohio State student, the university is not at liberty to comment due to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, other than to confirm that the student in question was in attendance at Ohio State only through Dec. 12.
When reached for comment by The Atlantic Wire, an Ohio State spokeswoman refused to clarify the statement, merely repeating the last line above (emphasis ours). But the phrase "only through" is still throwing us for a loop: Why isn't he there any longer? Because OSU is still on vacation until January 7? Has Nodianos decided to leave? Or has he been punished by the school?
According to Facebook users who say they have access to Ohio State records, Nodianos was listed on the student directory as late as Thursday afternoon, the day after the video leaked. By Friday, he no longer shows up under a directory search for his name (this, as some people have pointed out, could be a way for the university to protect his privacy). But other than that, nobody's really answering any questions about what, if anything, has happened.
Someone who has spoken up about Nodianos and the viral video is Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdala. "Sheriff Abdalla is proud of his town but when it comes to the video released Wednesday, he called it disgusting," reports WTRF-TV. But Sheriff Abdalla still doesn't like the way the national press has covered the involvement of Anonymous and LocalLeaks:
This is all over the world now. It's in the Huffington Post and New York Times but some of these papers are reporting this stuff based on what this Anonymous is telling them. How do you support what they're saying? Where's your proof? I thought newspapers where to be able to back it up with good, solid information. How can you do a story when someone is giving you information that's not even factual?
But... but... that video? Can't we agree it's pretty disgusting? The Steubenville Files allege that Sheriff Abdala and Steubenville football's head coach, Reno Saccoccia, are friends. Abdalla hasn't denied that allegation because, well, it seems like everyone in Steubenville knows Coach Reno.
Now rumors are surfacing that Saccoccia, who has become a Friday Night Lights-style legend in the small Ohio city during his 35 years at Steubenville High, will be resigning on Monday. The school is on a community-wide gag order at least until the rape trial's preliminary hearings on February 13, but there are growing calls for the coach, who didn't bench his players when he was told about his players posting photos of the alleged victim as she was allegedly being attacked, to either resign or be fired. And those calls will only grow louder on Saturday, when an Occupy Steubenville rally rolls into town.
Update, Saturday, 3:29 p.m.: In the midst of an Occupy Steubenville rally, Sheriff Fred Abdalla and Anonymous came face-to-face, and city leaders set up their own "facts" website.