Mob destroys reputations

To the editor:

In August 2012, the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney, working with detectives of the Steubenville Police Department and the Jefferson County sheriff, filed charges against two juveniles in connection with an alleged rape.

Since that time, the case has been the center of a firestorm of controversy, characterized by false rumors of conspiracy and an “Internet war” waged against our entire community by anonymous Internet bloggers and sensationalists who seem to have little regard for actual evidence of truth.

Despite the fact that our local enforcement authorities uncovered the evidence and commenced prosecution in a court of law, a loosely organized group of anonymous accusers has targeted our community for trial by innuendo.

Despite the fact that our prosecuting attorney called in special prosecutors and investigators from the Ohio attorney general’s office, false rumors swell with anonymous accusations of cover-up.

Despite the fact that our prosecuting attorney gave the Ohio attorney general the power to investigate and prosecute any person who had anything to do with the related crime, a group of outside agitators has labored to whip up a mob mentality with an apparent attempt to disturb the peace of the Ohio Valley and destroy its confidence in the law.

The result is a small segment of society using the press and the Internet to instill the passions of a lynch mob rather than a respect for justice. This mob cares little about separating the innocent from the guilty. It cares little for truth and evidence which will stand up in a court of law. And, it is inciting vigilante justice against local adults and children who had absolutely nothing to do with any crime whatsoever.

The mob cries for punishment of the guilty … and the innocent. It has no regard for the difference.

The mob tries to take credit for uncovering evidence which was never covered in the first place. In months of Internet bragging by bloggers who claim that they brought the facts to light, I have not seen one shred of evidence that local law enforcement didn’t uncover and gather within the first days of investigation by local officials.

What I have seen is people hiding behind masks and fake blogger names groping to destroy reputations that have been earned by years of honorable service.

You know us. You don’t know them.

Who will you believe?

Frank J. Bruzzese