The hacker group, Anonymous has made Steubenville, Ohio its latest target on Saturday, Jan. 5. To make matters worse for the community, the sheriff investigating an alleged rape isn’t getting along with Anonymous or the residents.
This week Anonymous accused Sheriff Fred Abdalla of being too close with Steubenville High’s football coach compromising his ability to investigate the rape without prejudice, deleting video evidence regarding the rape and running what they called “the largest illegal gambling operation in Jefferson County.”
Rape charges were brought against two members of the Big Red football team and Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla has been caught in a hail storm of corruption allegations as the news went national. Anonymous lists Abdalla at the “symbol of the corrupt nature surrounding the city and its relationship with the Big Red football program.”
CNN has reported that the investigation into the rape as well as the corruption allegations have led to the FBI offering “some technical assistance” to state authorities.
Prior to the Occupy Steubenville rally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 6, Abdalla went on the attack against Anonymous. He stated his concern about the information the hacking group was distributing.
Abdalla stated that Anonymous released the names of the accused, who are being charged as minors. The group is also accused of naming the classmate and fellow Steubenville High athlete whose video went viral.
Abdalla spoke with WTRF Friday night and said he was “coming after” Anonymous. However, the hacker group wasn’t intimidated by the sheriff.
Imagine the surprise when Sheriff Abdalla turned up on stage at the Occupy Steubenville rally the very next day. In front of a crowd of more than 1,300 people, many victims of rape spoke at the rally.
When Abdalla appeared on stage at the rally, the crowd didn’t exactly welcome him with open arms. His attendance was marked with large boos from the crowd.
After the rally, an Anonymous member interviewed the sheriff. Sheriff Abdalla was asked in the interview about the video that revealed a member of the football team joking about raping the victim.
Abdalla responded that he found it “disgusting”. He went on to clarify his knowledge of the video by explaining that while he knew of the existence of the video, it had only been viewed by him in the previous three days.
In response to the social media storm, the city of Steubenville set up a website titled, “Steubenville Facts” which addressed and clarified the facts including a timeline of the case.
CNN reported a statement issued on Saturday by Cathy Davison, the city manager of Steubenville.
“With looking at the facts of the case, the rumors, the social media, we proceeded in setting up Steubenville Facts.org that will present only the facts and provide information on the government of the city, as well as the transparency and the timeline of the evidence”
Davison went on to say that the website was a means for the city to “combat the perception that everyone in Steubenville is acting or is like the individuals that are involved in the case. That we are a community that is run by football. That is not the case.”
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