Social Media, Crime, Football, and a Small Town

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

Technology and the justice system have collided in an emotional and consequential way in the small steel town of Steubenville, Ohio.  The series of events started with an alleged repeated rape of a sixteen-year-old girl from neighboring West Virginia, a crime for which two members of the beloved high school football team and others will be standing trial, and developed into a national story involving “hactivists” and some harsh criticisms for the police department.

While the alleged rape occurred in August, it gained national attention just last month when a group known only as Anonymous hacked into a website for the football team and posted a video threatening to expose private information about everyone even assumed to be even marginally connected to the case.  The same “hactivist” group also shared a video in which a group of teenage boys are heard talking and laughing about the event.  Anonymous claims that the rape of a teenage girl is not being taken seriously because star athletes are protected in this town.

For his part, the chief of the Steubenville Police Department, William McCafferty, believes the assertions that his squad is covering for football players is unfair and have shed an unfair light on his community that it does not deserve.  To counter what they believed to be misplaced attacks on some residents of Steubenville, town leaders have established a website called  Its intention, according to its developers, is to keep the public up-to-date on what it deems to be the correct facts and developments in the case.

Have you seen instances where you live in which it appears certain members of the community were given special treatment when alleged crimes were involved? 

What do you think of the notion of “hactivists,” who use their controversial hacking skills to promote causes or shed light on what they believe to be injustices occurring around them?

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About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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1 Response to Social Media, Crime, Football, and a Small Town

  1. Pingback: Social Media Plays Critical Role in Guilty Verdicts Handed Down in Ohio Rape Case | Author Jennifer Chase

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