Steubenville Rape Case and Corruption Claims and the Lingering Investigative and Legal Conundrums

As a critical thinker and especially an investigator I had to quickly learn that in order to be good in either, that despite my feelings or impressions, my conclusions had to be firmly rooted in fact, logic and clear objective evidence. I had to be willing to see all sides of an issue, be able to understand and look at the same evidence within their paradigms and worldviews in order for me to either clearly see how either I am going down the wrong path or clearly see how my opponent is at risk of the same or trying to deceive me.  Failures to do this can and has caused many to fail to know the difference between a sound conclusion and a compelling inference.

I’m also reminded of one of my first lessons offered to me as  I paid my dues  as an apprentice investigator, pounding the pavement, sifting through papers and burning up in hot surveillance vans. I was told to never fail to try to do everything to see how youtarget can be proven to be truthful and your client to be shown a liar.  Doing so forces us to turn every stone and not just the ones that look more in line with our preconceived notions or decided conclusions. It forces the investigator to be objective and more aware of his emotions and their subtle ways of pulling one the wrong way one “gut feeling” at a time.

That being said then one should not conclude halfway through this that I am defending the defendants. Nor that I am in any way dismissing the validity of the many concerns of corruption that certainly merited at least some due diligence scrutiny. However, As I have been investigating this since August, and have been very open and direct with my investigative queries and questions towards those accused of either the recent rape or of corruption, I never felt in a reasonable or professionally ethical position to make direct accusations on anyone of either and continue to research and investigate a number of questions that still continue to plague me.

All of these “facts” that are coming out (many that were already mentioned on air and in print months ago, or never should have for various legal and/or moral reasons) such as this consent decree, Sheriff Abdalla’s past indictments, Hanlin’s many relational and professional overlap with many prominent persons in this case, etc, even if were all to prove corruption (but actually implies at best) does not explain the many bizarre actions by the DA and law enforcement that would not only be inconsistent but counter productive to a city or countywide conspiracy to cover this up or hide a secret cabal of cops, lawyers and city officials hanging out at The Spot devising new ways to harm and exploit the citizens of Steubenville, as is practically being painted if you were to believe all the recent tabloid like “new evidence” being peddled all over the internet and certain murdertainment “news” channels without any real due diligence investigation to show for it.

I decided to share my conundrums below with my readers and listeners and hear their thoughts and critical thinking analyses.

1. Why arrest those they chose to if they indeed were aware of other rapists but wanted to protect them, as being claimed by many. Especially Mal’ik Richmond. He was under the former guardianship of Greg Agresta a school board member and brother in law of Emanula Agresta (Asst DA and member of Bruzzese and Calabria law firm of which other lawyers there happen to also be ADAs) would be bound to come out (as it did for me upon even cursory investigation and interviews of locals) and cast more suspicion on the community leadership and raise questions of bias and ethics. Why “pick” someone to take the hit whose background alone is guaranteed to complicate this case and compromise the very goals being claimed?

2. Is the fact that Judge Kerr the one that oversaw Mal’ik’s guardianship when he was a child have any bearing in his decision to recuse himself, if so how?

3. Many people keep referring to the deputies collecting a couple phones and then inadvertently erasing photos. Where is that coming from? I have heard no officaial statement to that happening. I interviewed Abdalla on the air over a week ago and although he does admit to the deputies not accompanying the boys to get the phones (leaving open the plausibility that they could have deleted photos themselves) he denied that his deputies deleted anything and some photo evidence was found and one IS being charged for it as I understand, so what is being covered up?

4. Thanks to the potentially slanderous statements of Rosanne , seeming rush to post “evidence” by Knightsec (I refuse to use the term Anonymous anymore and get caught up in whatever disagreement is occurring within this hacking group, idea, or whatever you want to consider them) and a few other nameless bloggers and internet stalkers, Charlie Keenan (Hanlin’s son) has been dragged through the mud as a culprit and accused by some as the driving reason for a cover up.

Yet recently, it has been publicly contended by people believed to be in this “secret cover-up conspiracy” that he was no where near the crime and was in fact out of town, when all eyes are on Steubenville and this case why would they offer such an easily verifiable alibi that has not been refuted by investigators nor, as far as I know, from Jane Doe’s lawyers.  Why risk even more public exposure and at such a large scale the exposure of dishonesty and potential malfeasance given the position of some who offered this alibi? And if it is deed true, does that not destroy a core basis for the reasoning being offered to back claims of a cover-up?

5. How does a letter saying that the prosecution did not find sufficient evidence to arrest other boys who later testified, constitute a deal (As is being posited by many bloggers and armchair detectives)? Doesn’t a deal from a prosecutor involve them having the evidence and thus the ability to prosecute but chooses not to and makes that clear because they seek a higher priority suspect and need the first persons help? Is that not different from a written statement citing a lack of evidence and was also again pointed out in open court when one of the prosecutors said to one of those witnesses that they would have prosecuted if indeed the deleted photos that they openly admitted to have taken were recovered?

Finally there are the recent points raised by Frank Bruzzese on his Facebook, that again when looked at with unemotional or unprejudiced eyes, does raise valid challenges to recent claims against the city administration and law enforcement that in the interest of due diligence and fairness ought to be considered and reasonably answered.

“Let’s clear up four (4) facts. More to come later, but let’s focus on four (4) facts for today.

These facts are indisputable. You do not have to take anyone’s word for them. They were carved into the Court’s public record long ago, before any internet blogger arrived from cyber space.

Fact #1: In August of 2012, Jane Hanlin, Prosecuting Attorney of Jefferson County, Ohio, filed the charges which brought this case to light. She filed the most serious charges provided by law.

Fact #2: Our Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney also filed the motion to try the accused as adults.

Fact #3: Our Prosecuting Attorney gave nobody immunity. 

Fact #4: Our Prosecuting Attorney called in the Ohio Attorney General and its Special Prosecutors and requested the court to give them the authority to investigate and charge any other person who may have committed any crime related to the case.” – Frank Bruzzese 

Anyone care to weigh in?

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About behindtheyellowtape

Joey Ortega started his investigative career early at the age of 18 working as an apprentice investigator for local detectives. He started out doing insurance fraud investigations and background investigations. Proving adept in the areas surveillance and information gathering, Joey continued to seek further investigative challenges. From there he went on to do internal investigations for a number of companies that include; Sears, Roebuck Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, and K-mart. He was largely responsible for investigating issues of internal theft, embezzlement, workers comp fraud, and crime ring investigations. His success eventually earned him a position as a national investigator for a cellular chain, investigating crime rings on a national level. Trained in the Reid technique (interviewing/interrogation), Joey was able to gain confessions consistently without a single prosecution ever being challenged in court. Throughout his career as an internal investigator Joey continued to work for various private investigative agencies. Moving away from insurance fraud, Joey began developing his skills in the areas of criminal defense investigation, fidelity investigation, missing person’s investigations, and stalker investigations. It was the area of stalker investigations that Joey began to discover his passion for computer crime investigations. Having to learn quickly how to trace harassing and threatening emails, Joey began see that this is where the future of crime and justice was heading and decided to throw himself deeply into the subject. As a result, Joey’s clientele began to include those who were victims of internet fraud and cyber attacks. Joey is also the co-founder of The Ullemeyer Group, Inc. an investigative and training firm based in Santa Barbara, California that specializes in forensic training and consulting.
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10 Responses to Steubenville Rape Case and Corruption Claims and the Lingering Investigative and Legal Conundrums

  1. LCG says:

    Am I the first to reply?

    Following the case online and other rape cases globally, I’m sickened by how men can act. Soraya Chemaly wrote a couple articles recently trying to explain how we woman feel, how all men are suspect because of the few who are rapists. I live in a very rural, woodsy remote area and, along with having a big dog, carry a gun on my walks, not because of the chance of meeting up with a bear or cougar but meeting up with some hunters…men. All men are suspect. I agree.

    However, we can’t have a lynch mob mentality incited from watching a crude, vulgar video or seeing a helpless girl being carried allegedly to her next rape or from reading the tweets from mindless, brutish teenagers. Horrific as they are. “String ’em up”, “Let them burn in hell” (especially before really knowing the facts) are reactions that are partly responsible for our current deviant situation. We need to be caring, thoughtful beings in all circumstances.

    In short, I appreciate your careful reasoning, Joey.

  2. shirley says:

    I am disappointed. It sounds like you are leaning towards defending the defendant. Maybe you have too much on your plate to really get to the heart of it. Mal’ik Richmond, though a “loved” foster child, is not blood. He is a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb, for the protection of the futures of others. The decision to place this matter in juvenile court was to aid him down the road when it will be expunged and the Agresta firm, family and friends will continue to help.
    When I came across your site, I felt a sense of relief where none could be had before as this situation is deeply disturbing to me. I thought you must be an angel, (you look like one :). But you are all too human as evidenced by your bashing of Anonymous and Roseanne. Silly me.
    For all intents and purposes, the people posting are just as disturbed, hurt and helpless. I don’t mind social media getting to the facts even in its crude way otherwise this would have been swept under the rug.

    • Well as I said, from the intro of this post. One should not assume I am defending the defendants. There is nothing in what I wrote that appealed for thier innocence. If anything the evidence and reason as articulated suggests that they indeed have the right people. Even that sick video that was posted which people expected would finally reveal what many suspected, that a whole team of athletes raped this girl. However when listening to the whole dialogue and not just the sick diatribe that was featured, more than once, background voices uttered the same accusation, listen its there “Mal’ik and Trent raped some girl”. If anything, this tape backed up what has been claimed.

      But all that aside, I addressed your very claim, even if they had to have a “sacrificial lamb” or two. Choosing Mal’ik seemed like the worst possible choice given the reasons that I laid out and the inherent risks that created. Not to mention the obvious political one. By that I mean, if it was simply based on race to “choose” him to be charged as has been claimed early in this case, would still not make sense if the intent was to sweep this case under the rug and attract as little attention as possible. Only someone who lived under a rock or a complete moron, corrupt people may be immoral but it takes intelligence to do what they do for as long as have been claimed. I say this because we clearly live in a hyper PC environment where anytime a minority especially an African American is called out on something socially , politically and especially legally, the burden of proof is even greater as not only do you have to prove overwhelming evidence that they are guilty of what they are being accused of , but you also have to prove that you are not a racist as now people quickly assume you are since you not accusing a white guy, when there are plenty more of them to “choose” from.

      So no matter how you look at it, all of the established facts and intelligent reasoning in many ways conflict with the blanket accusation that the currently charged are innocent or a the “chosen” two to “take one for the team”. This is me thinking out loud. Offering insight into the mind of an investigator who understands that it is not enough to be able to show why you should suspect one of a crime but you have to have objective evidence proving it is a reasonable assumption and not based on personal feelings or conjecture and thus lessening the chance of the innocent being accused. Furthermore, you have to go beyond that as that is only enough to justify an arrest and maybe an indictment. If you are trying to prosecute someone you have to think ahead and just as you thought like a criminal to out wit them on the streets, as the good investigators do, you have to think like a defense attorney to out with them in the courtroom. You have to think, how would you defend your client? What ways can you offer reasonable alternative conclusions and thus show reasonable doubt. You have to see what holes will they poke in your conclusions and if necessary how can it be distorted to create bedazzlement, sensationalism, confusion or misdirection and hope the jury will mistake that for reasonable doubt? That takes more than good intuition, years of street smarts, or investigative acumen. It takes sound critical thinking, the humility to try to find ways to disprove yourself, and the ability to articulate your case i a way that leaves the defense as little wiggling room as possible.

      I am not bashing Rosanne Barr, masked activists or anyone else nor am I trying to. I am not attacking anyone, only arguments, methods and inconsistent behavior. I’m trying to do here what I always strive do here an on my show, raise our standards of what we will allow, peers, con-men and especially the media to offer up as truth and fact. I’m reminding us that the more we allow critical thinking and reasoning take a back seat to emotional appeal and social agenda, the more we make ourselves susceptible to those who really actually do sit around and try to devise ways to control our fates to benefit them and not us.

      Dictators develop, they don’t just march on scene and declare power, they slowly collect it from the ones they seek to exploit. Koresh, Jones, or even Hitler did not get to where they were by appealing to the people’s reason he appealed to their emotions. It was only after people saw reason and realized what they had done and whom they have entrusted their fates to, did force become a unnecessary tool to KEEP what was already GIVEN them. So you see, failure to think critically can not only cause the wrong man to be oppressed it can also cause the worst one to be exalted.

      • ebony says:

        You explained yourself very well and throughly. I completely get your point of view and agree. Emotions have to be eliminated in the search of facts and truth. Its simply hard for the average sane person especially myself from personal perspective as I have been molested and raped knowingly so I sympatize with the alleged victim wholeheartedly and to that end I understand the post made by shirley however I see the logic in your opinion and I dont believe there is a coverup nor Malik being a sacrifical lamb for many reasons. I am a African American woman and I truely believe the burden is not increased but decreased when it comes to minorities committing crimes that is the only issue I definitely differ in opinion with you about Ive seen it and had others witness it time and time again. Im keeping posted on this story.

  3. carolann says:

    We have some concerns about next scheduled protest 2/2/13. Though previous ones seemed well handled, worried that “infitraitors” behind masks may cause real problems. Not real thriled about the mask thing….. bad peope can wear masks too.
    Just have a bad feelin about next protest. Fear the ‘bad people” have had plenty of time to plot and plan how to sabotage this. Hope I’m wrong.
    Again, thank you Joey, for your continued thoughtful presentations re: all things “Steubenville”/

  4. BKing says:

    I just want to point out that giving the benefit of the doubt only applies if a person hasn’t exhibited the behavior before, methinks, I’ll elaborate.
    The prosecuting attorney has blurred the line of ethics on record before by doing a favor, if you will, for an athlete/friend of her sons by testifying on his behave in a criminal proceeding. She quite literally had to be forced to vacate her position on the school board due to ethics conflictions and well as other allegations that came from within the community itself. It seems only reasonable that some would question her credibility in this case especially if any of the allegations made about her sons possible involvement are true. Furthermore, there is still another alleged rape that was reported in Sept, and it has been alleged that the victim and/ or her parents were also discouraged from filing by the same Prosecutor. It has been alleged that this second rape may involve some of the same individuals in this case. It’s interesting to note that no suspects have been charged in that crime some four months later to my knowledge. It seems possible that there may be a lot more to this “rape crew” more victims perhaps, more suspects, more crimes, definitely more than what the public knows now methinks, and definitely reason to believe the P.A hadn’t been completely honest and forthcoming, or perhaps conspired to cover this up (allegedly) to some degree, minimizeat the least…. You can’t blame people for believing that anyway. I honestly don’t think a group of individuals gets a name like “the rape crew” if only two of them committed a rape one time, there’s much much more to all this on a myriad of levels, methinks. All of this is merely conjecture mind you, just my opinions.

  5. TJ says:

    The evidence against Mays and Richmond must be so overwhelmingly incriminating that the authorities had no choice but to charge them. The rest of the crew, well, maybe the prosecution didn’t look too hard…

  6. john says:

    i find it really strange that these boys took pictures of the girl on cell phones and amazingly all of them decided to deleat them. Seems to me that someone in the know might have advised them to do so to avoid prosecution. Wonder who was around that might have enough legal knowledge to have advised them..Seems strange to me, none of the phones confiscated had any pictures left on them. Strange they all took them then decided to get rid of them kinda puzzling as to why the all had same feelings about them. Just wondering.

  7. carolann says:

    Joey, I have read your bio and I’m confused. You are an expert on cyber technology, all the stuff I cannot grasp. How could the cell ph. evidence just have disappeared? It’s my feeble understanding that once you put stuff “out there” it’s “out there.” I’ve read posts from people far more knowledgable than myself that that the info can be retrieved. What’s up with this?
    Again thank you for your continued interest in our “situations” here and pursuit of the TRUTH.

    • I know too many ppl way smarter than me to call myself and expert. But as I understand, what is at issue is that the the cyber forensics lab uses a software that IS top if the line but that at the time of analysis it was not able to crack the latest OS (iPhone/iPad platform). There can be somewhat of a delay between an OS update and the forensic software’s ability to crack it and get a complete memory dump and in a way that complies to rules of evidence.

      Still trying to confirm if that is still the case, but I remain optimistic.

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