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Despite rape case, Steubenville coach gets contract extension

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Tue April 23, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The two-year extension was announced Monday
  • The move comes about a month after a controversial rape trial
  • The trial involved two football players accused of rape
  • The two players were convicted

(CNN) -- The longtime head football coach of Steubenville High School landed a contract extension this week, despite the rape controversy that gripped the small Ohio town and the nation.

Reno Saccoccia was granted a two-year extension by the local school board, Steubenville Superintendent Michael McVey said Monday.

The decision comes about a month after two star Steubenville High School football players were convicted for sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl.

The trial highlighted shocking examples of teenage alcohol use and crude text messaging. There were also whispers of the possibility of the assault being covered up by some in the football-crazed Rust Belt town.

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There is currently an online petition by those who feel the coach did not do enough to bring accused football players to justice. The petition, which calls for Saccoccia's ouster, has more than 130,000 signatures.

Saccoccia's contract extension is for his administrative duties and does not pertain to his coaching activities, McVey told CNN affiliate WTOV.

Saccoccia is in year three of his five-year coaching contract, the affiliate reported.

Case is not over

Teenagers and star football players Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond were found guilty in March of raping the 16-year-old girl. The two were accused of raping the girl during a series of end-of-summer parties in August 2012.

Prosecutors used an avalanche of cell pictures and videos and social media posts about the rape to help prove the case.

During the trial a text message was read that indicated that Saccoccia knew about the incident and his football players believed the coach would "take care of it," the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper reported.

The coach told the newspaper that he had not known about the rape and had not discussed it with his players.

Mays was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a juvenile correctional facility. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year, but like Mays, he could be in detention until he is 21.

But despite the verdict, the case is continuing.

Ohio's attorney general said last month that a grand jury will be empaneled to determine if anyone else should be charged in the case.

That grand jury was selected last week.

Opinion: In Steubenville, why didn't other girls help?

HLN's Anna Rhett Miller contributed to this report.

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