STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (NBCNC) - Demonstrators descended on Steubenville, Ohio Saturday to sound off on the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl and the upcoming trial of two high school football stars accused in the case.
The case goes to trial next month, but local officials have unexpectedly found themselves on trial in the internet court of public opinion.
Steubenville authorities have resorted to setting up a web site to debunk claims that they tried to cover up the case to protect football players.
"I assure you my department has investigated this case thoroughly," says Steubenville Police Chief William McCafferty.
The hacker collective known as "Anonymous" helped turn this case into an internet sensation with the release of a video in which Steubenville teens describe what happened in graphic language.
Police say they uncovered the video early in the investigation.
"I too, as with all my officers, who investigated this were appalled by these morally inept statements made," McCafferty says.
Officials say the evidence is bigger than one video, and despite torrents of outrage
justice will be found in an Ohio courtroom, not on the internet.