Halie Williams / Asst. arts editor
More than 85,000 signatures were hand-delivered to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine by members of the Ohio National Organization for Women (Ohio Now) Monday, calling for the arrest of former Ohio State student Michael Nodianos because of comments made about an alleged rape in Steubenville, Ohio.
Nodianos, a Steubenville High School graduate, gained national notoriety when he appeared in a 12-minute video making light of an alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl from Steubenville by two Steubenville High School football players in August. In it he used analogies of being “deader than” and being “raped harder than” to show the extent to which the alleged victim had been assaulted. Nodianos’ final day attending OSU was Dec. 12.
Jacqueline Hillyer, Ohio NOW president, along with roughly 12 other protestors, said Nodianos was guilty of failure to report a felony, which is a fourth-degree misdemeanor under Ohio Revised Code 2921.22.
The law firm of Dennis McNamara, which is representing Nodianos, declined comment.
DeWine told the protestors the government’s investigation in Steubenville has not singled out specific individuals, including Nodianos, but has focused on anyone who has any “culpability” with the crime. While DeWine acknowledged that Nodianos did not act respectfully, he disagreed that his actions warranted an arrest.
“There’s a difference between what is a criminal violation and what is obnoxious, or otherwise immoral,” DeWine said to the crowd.
Many of those who came to support the arrest of Nodianos said that rape has become a global issue and needs attention.
“A lot of us are part of this both because of this issue of persecution and all that, and the sort of general crisis globally that we’ve seen in terms (of) rape-culture,” said Pranav Jani, an OSU English associate professor.
Besides Nodianos’ arrest, DeWine largely agreed with the protestors; rape is too pervasive in today’s culture.
“I think we have an obligation to make it very clear how serious this (crime) is, this cannot be taken lightly, that this is something that is dead serious,” DeWine said. “This is a question, frankly, of human dignity.”
Hillyer said she wants to remind Ohioans that violence is not legitimate on any level and should never be perpetuated.
“The violence issue has got to be stopped,” she said. “We want men and women of character and of courage. Rape shows no courage.”
The trial for the Steubenville rape is scheduled to begin March 13. DeWine will reassess the guilt or innocence of any third-party afterward, he said.