STEUBENVILLE (KDKA) – Two teenagers accused of threatening a rape victim in Steubenville, Ohio appeared in juvenile court Tuesday morning.
According to police, the 16-year-olds are accused of writing threatening messages on social media pages regarding the victim.
Both defendants, one 16 and the other 15 went before Judge Sam Kerr Tuesday morning.
Judge Kerr reviewed the charges filed against both girls, which include a felony count of intimidating a witness and misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and telecommunications harassment.
Police in Jefferson County, Ohio described the messages on Twitter as threatening to cause physical harm and were allegedly aimed at the victim.
The assisting prosecuting attorney said they are taking any threats very seriously.
“This will not be tolerated and its beyond me why these young people continue to believe that it is okay to post things of this nature on social media for the whole words to see,” Sam Pate said.
The two tweets in question read:
“I’ll celebrate by beating the (expletive) out of Jane Doe.”
“You ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, so when I see you (expletive) it’s going to be a homicide.”
The family for the 16-year-old said she was merely tweeting lyrics to a rap song and because she’s related to Ma’lik Richmond, it was misinterpreted. The family also said they have also received threats recently.
The lawyer for the 15-year-old said her tweets were in response to an attack on her and were not directed toward the victim.
Both girls were remanded to the juvenile detention center in Jefferson County and are scheduled for another hearing on March 27.
If they were found to be guilty of the felony intimidating a witness charge, they could serve a minimum of six months. The two misdemeanor charges carry lesser penalties.
The 15-year-old will turn 16 on March 22.
KDKA-TV’s Heather Abraham reached out to the superintendent for Steubenville City Schools, who said they are cooperating with police and are not condoning any criminal acts.
The district has created an action plan and plans to hold an assembly in April on dating violence.
On Sunday, Richmond and Trent Mays were found guilty and both were sentenced to at least one year in juvenile detention, but could remain there until they turn 21.
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