Abdalla makes statement, answers to 'Occupy Steubenville' - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Sheriff Abdalla Makes Statement on 'Occupy Steubenville'

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Sheriff Fred Abdalla at the second "Occupy Steubenville" protest Sheriff Fred Abdalla at the second "Occupy Steubenville" protest

The second "Occupy Steubenville" rally on Jan. 5 brought a larger crowd with many speakers using a PA system to speak at the event.

During the protest, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla approached the microphone to make a statement and answered a few questions fielded by one of the protestors.

(for more on the case, click here)

Abdalla aimed at clearing views of the protestors by stating his history and history of local authorities on seeking justice against sexual offenders.

"I would go after those people that have gone after our children," said Abdalla. "For the last 28 years we have arrested over 200-plus individuals who are sexually abusing children."

Over a restless crowd, Abdalla reminded everyone at the event to teach children that sexual offenders are not always strangers. 

"Not one person we arrested was a stranger," exclaimed Abdalla.

During Abdalla's speech, he talked about victims' fathers, grandfathers, cousins and even teachers that have been arrested which was quickly followed up by someone in the crowd yelling "what about football players?"

Abdalla then shared his feelings of listening to children affected by sexual abuse.

"The most difficult thing for me to do is to sit and listen to a 3 or 4 year old child to tell you what someone did to them," said Abdalla. "It's like sticking a knife into your heart and twisting it."

After Abdalla completed his speech, it was followed by booing from the crowd and people yelling "do your job" and "seek justice."

Abdalla was then fielded questions from a protestor including when did he see the 12-minute YouTube video of a teenager speaking about the alleged rape.

"The first time I saw that was 3 days ago," said Abdalla as the crowd booed.

Abdalla went on to clarify the Steubenville Police Department had the video in their possession the same month the case started.

When asked what Abdalla's first reaction to this video was, he said "disgusting."

After Abdalla spoke, another person in the crowd took hold of the microphone to show support their support of the sheriff.

"I believe he is a good man," said the protester.  "I'm taking a risk speaking up so hear me out.  He's a good man and I know it."