Hanlin said hesitation by sexual assault victims and their families is common and understandable, but her office had evidence of a rape and had to look out not just for the 16-year-old victim but other potential victims as well.
"So our decision then was to move forward in this case because we felt we had an obligation to do so," she said.
Fitzsimmons said that everyone has the right to consider the effects of pursuing criminal charges, especially given the negative effects involved in a rape case.
When considering the well-being of their daughter, who in addition to being raped was publicly humiliated in postings online and in social media about the assault, "these parents rightly wanted a little time to decide what to do," Fitzsimmons said.
The family cooperated with police throughout, said Fitzsimmons, of Wheeling, W.Va.
"They chose the correct path and the criminals were prosecuted and found guilty of rape."
Even though the verdict is a month old, Hanlin said it was important to address these issues because so many rumors flew early about a cover-up. These included erroneous early reports that her own son, a member of the football team, was involved. Hanlin took herself off the case and it was prosecuted by the Ohio attorney general's office.
"There were all of these false rumors on the Internet that the police department or the prosecutor's office had threatened or pressured the victim not to go forward," said Hanlin, who says she has never met the victim's family. "In fact, it was the opposite - we were moving forward with the investigation no matter what."
A 14-member grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence April 30 regarding whether any other laws were broken. They will examine allegations that some adults, including the head football coach, may have known about the assault early on. Teachers and coaches are among officials required by Ohio law to report abuse.