By Drew Singer
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (Reuters) - A county sheriff under fire for how he has handled a high school rape investigation faced down a raucous crowd of protesters on Saturday and said no further suspects would be charged in a case that has rattled Ohio football country.
Ma'lik Richmond and Trenton Mays, both 16 and members of the Steubenville High School football team, are charged with raping a 16-year-old fellow student at a party last August, according to statements from their attorneys.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, accused of shielding the popular football program from a more rigorous investigation, told reporters no one else would be charged in the case, just moments after he addressed about 1,000 protesters gathered in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.
"I'm not going to stand here and try to convince you that I'm not the bad guy," he said to a chorus of boos. "You've already made your minds up."
The "Occupy Steubenville" rally was organized by the online activist group Anonymous.
Abdalla declined to take the investigation over from Steubenville police, sparking more public outrage. Anonymous and community leaders say police are avoiding charging more of those involved to protect the school's beloved football program.
The two students will be tried as juveniles in February in Steubenville, a close-knit city of 19,000 about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh.
The case shot to national prominence this week when Anonymous made public a picture of the purported rape victim being carried by her wrists and ankles by two young men. Anonymous also released a video that showed several other young men joking about an assault.
Abdalla, who said he first saw the video three days ago, said on Saturday that it provided no new evidence of any crimes.
"It's a disgusting video," he said. "It's stupidity. But you can't arrest somebody for being stupid." Continued...