At 11 a.m. on Monday, March 4, the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for Women will be delivering 85,000 petitions to Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, asking him to charge Michael Nodianos, who laughed and joked on social media about the gang rape by Steubenville high school football players.
Ohio NOW is asking people from the anti-violence, feminist, and other progressive communities to be a presence at the Attorney General's office, 30 East Broad Street in Columbus, when the petitions are delivered.
NOW has joined with Justice for Children, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the feminist group UltraViolet in sending a letter concerning the Steubenville rape case to Mike DeWine. The letter urges DeWine to investigate and file criminal charges against the man shown laughing at a rape victim in the now-infamous video, for failure to report a crime under Ohio law.
"Those who fail to report the crime of rape must be held criminally accountable," said Jackie Hillyer, President of Ohio NOW. "We expect Attorney General DeWine to take rape seriously and send a clear message to the community that those who rape a woman, those who aid and abet the crime, and those who fail to report it will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We expect Mr. DeWine to enforce the rule of law, and hold those who break Ohio law accountable."
"While many have said that the Ohio man in the video, Michael Nodianos, was simply making offensive remarks about the rape victim that did not rise to the level of a crime, the reality is that the video provides compelling evidence strongly suggesting that Nodianos knew a rape had occurred, yet failed to report the rape to the police," said Randy Burton, founder of the national child advocacy organization Justice for Children. "In our opinion, this indicates he is criminally liable and should be charged under Ohio law Revised Code § 2921.22 with failure to report a crime."
Burton continued, "It is my belief, based upon my experience as the former Chief Prosecutor of Family Violence in Houston and as a child advocate, that Mr. Nodianos should be investigated and tried for the crime of failing to report a felony rape. Nodianos states several times in the video 'they raped her' and acknowledges that the 16-year-old rape victim was unconscious, and therefore unable to consent during the rapes, by referring to her as 'dead' and 'dead girl.'
"Given this compelling evidence, Justice for Children is joining Ohio NOW and other national organizations in calling upon Ohio State Attorney General Mike DeWine to fully investigate Michael Nodianos and, should Attorney General DeWine agree with our assessment of the admissions by Nodianos in this video, charge him with failure to report," Burton said.
"The nation is watching Attorney General Mike DeWine’s actions in this case," said Hillyer. "We expect Mr. DeWine to take this matter seriously and demonstrate his alliance with victims of rape and with justice for this young girl and crime victims everywhere."
The trial of Ma'Lik Richmond and Trent Mays for the rape of the underage victim is scheduled to begin March 13 in the Jefferson County Juvenile Court.
This follow-up article covers the rally and meeting with Attorney General Mike DeWine.