STEUBENVILLE - Prosecutors today formally filed rape and kidnapping charges against two 16-year-old Steubenville High School students suspected of sexually assaulting a juvenile female, while a third charge was brought against one of the accused.
In addition to those two charges, the Jefferson County Prosecutor's Office charged one of the suspects with "illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material."
Both suspects will remain lodged in the Jefferson County juvenile detention center while awaiting an initial appearance hearing within the next 15 business days.
That hearing had not yet been scheduled at press time.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said she intends to recuse herself from the case because she is familiar with individuals surrounding the investigation. She will request the Ohio Attorney General's Office appoint a special prosecutor to the case.
The special prosecutor will make the decision to either try the suspects as juveniles or file a motion to bind their case over to adult court.
During their initial appearance hearing, the suspects will be advised of their rights, the charges against them and the possible penalties and are expected to enter a denial plea.
One of the suspects appeared with an attorney during a hearing Wednesday before Juvenile Judge Samuel Kerr, while the other suspect had yet to retain counsel at press time.
The suspects have remained in the juvenile detention center since they were arrested early Wednesday morning at their homes as the result of an ongoing investigation by the Steubenville Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.
According to Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey, the suspects were student-athletes, but were immediately suspended from participating in sports following their arrests, per school district policy.
An investigation was launched after two individuals arrived at the Steubenville police station around 1:40 a.m. Aug. 14 to report "a sexual assault involving their juvenile daughter." An officer took information for the report and referred the individuals to the department's juvenile division, the report states.