Looking for hometown justice

After watching the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, play out in the media this past spring, I thought justice would be swift in a similar case here in our hometown. Boy, was I wrong. The case I’m referring to is at a standstill. The teenage boy, in this case, hosted a party, served alcohol and assaulted a teenage girl at his house while his parents were away on vacation in Florida.

The teenage boy admitted this wrong doing via texts to the victim. Statements and evidence were taken by a deputy from the Wood County Sheriff’s Department. Then a detective was able to download these texts as evidence, as well as, obtain additional statements. Since this complaint was filed back in December 2012 this case has been moved from Wood County to Ritchie County Prosecuting Attorney Steve A. Jones because of a family connection between the accused and Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton.

While I appreciate the appearance of justice in this case, it is going nowhere. Jones has said he cannot move forward because he doesn’t have the “complete” case/package from the Wood County Sheriff’s Office; Sheriff Ken Merritt, has replied his office has given the entire case/package to the Ritchie County Prosecuting Attorney. Are officials dragging their feet while the statute of limitations runs out?

While this game is being played by these elected officials, this teenage boy goes on to represent our local high school, play varsity sports and have more parties. Meanwhile, the victim and family are constantly reminded of this outrage by daily encounters with the teenage boy and family through school and community activities. Old Parkersburg money is definitely winning over justice. I guess “no” spoken by a teenage female in Wood County means nothing.

Joy Cundiff

Vienna