Thanks to a few ill-advised cable news broadcasts the world now knows the name of the Steubenville rape victim, but don't even think about sending her any intimidating messages — unless you want to go to jail. If that's the case, a simple tweet or two will do. Facebook works, too.
Around 24 hours after the guilty verdict was delivered in juvenile court, police started taking aim at the batch of trolls trying to harass the girl that was raped by Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond last summer. They arrested two Ohio girls who threatened the victim on Twitter and Facebook. These were not light-hearted threats, either. They were death threats. One of the girls now in custody tweeted, "you ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry , so when I see you [redacted], it's gone be a homicide."
Death threats are hardly a new phenomenon in the Steubenville saga. After the trial concluded, local prosecutor Jane Hanlin admitted that she and her family had received a number of them. "As the trial date grew closer, we received a number of them that seemed to be more credible than others," the veteran prosecutor, who had to call in reinforcements from the Ohio Attorney General's office, told the local press. "I have never received, nor has my family received, more death threats than during this particular case." That quote sounds almost casual, which should give you a little bit of insight into the gravity of the situation. If the woman who receives death threats often sounds concerned about the latest batch of death threats, things must be bad.
And the backlash is only beginning. Next month, the Steubenville case will enter a new phase, when it comes before a grand jury who will decide whether any more crimes were committed on the night of the rape and the months that followed. Everything from cover-ups to complicity is up for grabs, and the state prosecutors seem particularly committed to bringing justice to every single person that deserves it in the small Ohio town. If there's anyone that doesn't deserve any more attention, especially of the threatening type, it's the victim. She's been through enough at this point.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.