New York Daily News Delivers Fact-Free Smear Of Coach Saccoccia

Steubenville football coach knew athletes raped girl, 16, and still tried to shield them of prosecution: court evidence is the shocking–shocking, I say!–headline that the New York Daily News ran a few days ago.

Here’s are the opening grads of the story:

Steubenville High School football coach Reno Saccoccia not only knew that two of his players had sexually assaulted a teen-age girl during a booze-fueled night last August, he also tried to shield his athletes from prosecution, evidence presented during last week’s trial of the two players suggests.

Saccoccia, who has won three state championships and has been inducted into the Ohio Coaches Hall of Fame, is just one of the Steubenville coaches, parents and students who could face criminal charges after a grand jury reviews evidence from the case next month.

Wow  – that’s big new. The coach knew they had raped the victim and he shielded them? That’s huge.

So, I read the story. I was curious to see the proof that the coach 1) knew about the rape and 2) that he shielded the players.

I read and read. Nothing. Then finally:

Text messages and other evidence presented in last week’s trial suggested that Trent Mays in particular believed his status as a football star — and the privilege “Big Red” football enjoys in Steubenville — protected him from prosecution.

There it is — Trent Mays thought something. Allegedly.

Not only does The Daily News story by Christian Red and Michael O’Keefe not present a speck of evidence that Coach went along with this but it’s contradicted by the trial.

If there’s evidence that the coach knew they’d raped the victim, I have yet to see it. If there’s evidence of a cover-up, I have yet to see it.

Is there evidence of horrible reporting? Yes. Indeed. I’ve seen plenty of thst.


One comment

  1. Martha A.

    Lee, I’m personally not very conservative, but I’ve got a question that you might be interested in looking into which maybe best answered by someone who is economically conservative, someone who looks especially carefully at government spending. It must have cost an enormous amount of money to do what the legal system did in the Steubenville rape trial – to try and find delinquent Trent and Malik on the charges, to investigate the charges, not to mention to subpoena witnesses (including teens from out of state) and do the various legal proceedings connected with the case. Any idea how much those costs ran, or how I might find out?

    I’m wondering for many reasons, and every one is relevant to helping make less likely for something like this to happen again. Above all, I think it’s an awesomely good thing that this trial happened, and that the charges were investigated apparently very fairly and appropriately, concerns about possible initial delays aside (and that’s being looked into by a grand jury). But if it’s a good thing the trial happened and if incidents like this are more common than people realize, we may likely see more trials like this in the future, unfortunately. So it’s reasonable to ask, how much does a trial like this cost?

    The defendants, now convicted, will be required to pay court costs. How can they be expected to pay them off? They’re not even adults themselves. Let’s say the share of cost for one of the two in this case was $100,000, and I’m sure the costs were more than that – I think they may find it difficult to even pay $10k a year immediately upon release for ten years. Realistically, I don’t see how they’ll be able to pay the costs off for a decade or more.

    I started thinking about this while looking at reports of how many hundreds of thousands of texts, pictures, and other kinds of electronic evidence was collected and “examined”. Maybe the investigators didn’t didn’t have a staff individually look at each item, they used computer programs to assist with that and tell them what needed more personal, human attention, but in any case I think the extra time spent on examining and analyzing that evidence must have added to the costs. I’m personally thinking that this trial overall and the overall expense may be almost unprecedented for this sort of case – I think that in most cases like this in the past that there were very brief investigations of mostly physical, nonelectronic evidence and first-person witness statements taken, and sadly in most cases charges were not declared founded in many cases like this in the past.

    And if the boys can’t pay the costs in this case, and if we’re looking at possibly many more cases like this tried in the future, how will they be paid for, and what may be done to try to lessen the cost? Are we likely to see more laws trying to offset or shift costs to various parties who might be more likely able to pay significant costs (fines, etc) ordered by the court – and the economic burden associated with pursuing cases against minors or others likely incapable of paying court costs for a decade or more – like social host laws, for example, that allow for severe fines, like thousands of dollars, against parents who “knowingly” allow unsupervised parties to take place where drinking occurs? I think there should be a discussion about this, and what political forces may shape this, because whatever we think should be done in this regard, the economic impact of cases like this must be significant and it certainly hasn’t been in any of the news reports I’ve seen on this case or similar cases.

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