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Teenage girls charged with online threats against Ohio rape victim

By Drew Singer

(Reuters) - Two teenage girls were arrested in Ohio on Monday and accused of using social media to threaten the young victim in a high-profile rape trial that concluded this past weekend, state Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

A 16-year-old girl is charged with aggravated menacing after using Twitter to threaten the life of the victim, DeWine said in a statement. A 15-year-old girl is charged with one count of menacing after making a threat on Facebook, he said.

The charges came a day after a juvenile court judge found Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, delinquent in the August 12 sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl at a party while she was in a drunken stupor.

"Let me be clear," DeWine said on Monday in a statement. "Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you," he added.

WTRF, a local media outlet, reported that the two girls would appear before a juvenile court judge in Steubenville on Tuesday. Calls to DeWine's office seeking confirmation of the hearing were not returned on Monday.

A judge ordered Richmond held in a juvenile detention facility for at least one year and Mays for at least two years. The juvenile system could hold them until age 21. Both were required to register as juvenile sex offenders.

At a news conference on Sunday, DeWine said that he would seek a grand jury investigation into whether others should be charged in failing to report or stop the rape. Investigators interviewed 27 partygoers, but said that 16 others refused to cooperate.

(Reporting by Drew Singer, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Cynthia Johnston and Paul Simao)

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