Women’s groups demanding action from Ohio Attorney General

COLUMBUS – Two women’s groups are expected to present Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine a petition Monday containing more than 85,000 signatures demanding Michael Nodianos of Steubenville, who is seen in a YouTube video making comments about an alleged rape involving fellow students, be prosecuted.

Trent Mays, 16, of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville have been charged with rape in connection with an incident that allegedly happened Aug. 11-12. Mays also faces a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly having a picture of the victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone. Attorneys for both defendants have denied the charges.

Their trial is scheduled to begin on March 13 in juvenile court in the Jefferson County Justice Center.

Nodianos is seen in a 12-minute YouTube video making comments about the alleged rape. His attorney, Dennis McNamara, in January said Nodianos wasn’t at the house where the alleged rape occurred.

“There were three witnesses to the alleged rape at a third house and two of them came back to the house where Michael made the 12 minute video at around 2 or 2:30 a.m. People at the other house came back and talked about what happened. The kid shooting the video of Michael was not a witness to the alleged rape. The video was made at a friend’s house and not at the house where the alleged incident occurred,” said McNamara during the January press conference.

But the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for Women and UltraViolet, a women’s right organization, said the Nodianos video “makes clear he not only knew but abetted the crime in the Steubenville rape case,” according to a joint press release Friday from the organizations.

“To many, it feels like time is running out for action. The women’s petition specifically demands that AG DeWine prosecute anyone who may have known about this crime and did nothing to stop it – including Michael Nodianos,” the press release stated.

Last month, student members of Choice USA and UltraViolet met with DeWine. The press release stated they were “promised justice, but, so far, none has come. This has prompted women across the state to return Monday,” the press release stated.

“Outrage has mounted nationally from women’s groups and the public generally because of overwhelming evidence on social media that many people not only witnessed and failed to stop the crime, but also promoted it. Under Ohio law, failing to report a felony is a crime- but still, nothing has been done. The issue has become a line in the sand amongst many women’s groups who say rape culture has gone far enough- and see the prosecution of Michael Nodianos as essential to women’s safety. They know AG DeWine is in a position to either green light rape culture or send a strong signal that its not acceptable,” the press release stated.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com)