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January 3rd, 2013
10:31 AM ET

Blogger on her findings regarding the Steubenville rape case she brought to light using social media

Two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio are under arrest for the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl. The case has received national attention after evidence of the alleged attack first surfaced on social media. Alexandra Goddard blogs at and has been posting on this developing story. This morning she joins “Starting Point” to discuss her findings including a 12-minute video posted on YouTube showing several teens making jokes about the alleged rape.

Goddard says after becoming aware of the story she felt compelled to research it further because she “felt like because it was involving football players and there’s a culture [in Steubenville] that football is very important that there was probably a little more to the story than local media was reporting.” Goddard says she proceeded to sift through various twitter accounts where she found disturbing messages that laid out a timeline regarding the events that reportedly transpired on August 22, 2012. In particular Goddard says she came across the cache of a YouTube video that many people claimed did not exist. She adds the release of the 12-minute video which has garnered a response from both Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine proves that the video existed all along. She goes on to say that “some of the commentary that was going on by the person in it tells the horrific things that happened that night.”

On the topic of verification and authenticity of the tweets and videos posted on social media Goddard says the “person has identified themselves in the video. They’ve also identified others in the room who were allegedly involved and through the twitter accounts most of these kids were using their full names.”

Recently a defamation suit against Goddard by a football player and his parents regarding the case was dismissed. Goddard says however her investigation in Steubenville has “been for the most part very positive.” She adds that she has not been the recipient of any hate mail but admits there are some who are very “upset” by her pursuance of the case. Goddard says there are others however who have thanked her for bringing the case to light “because their local media just wasn’t providing enough coverage and they were coming to my blog for information.”

Filed under: Crime • Lawsuit • Rape • School • Social media
September 21st, 2012
10:24 AM ET

Fmr. Deutsche Bank bank VP suing over gender bias

It's a gender discrimination lawsuit against a global financial giant, accused of what some call "mommy tracking."

Kelley Voelker, a vice president with Deutsche Bank's securities and lending desk, was fired this month after 14 years with the company. The mother of two says it all started after her second maternity leave, when she claims she lost big accounts and the company tried to demote here.

Voelker & attorney Douglas Wigdor discuss their claim with Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point" this morning.

"Everything was fine. I was successful with all of my accounts. My accounts liked me. I got back from maternity leave and they were taken away," Voelker says. "I was a dedicated employee for 14 years. And despite great performance reviews, every single one of them, they never promoted me. And eventually they took my accounts away."

Wigdor says unfortunately Voelker's case isn't unique.

"Those are the unfortunate stereotypes that we keep seeing in the workplace," he says. "63 percent of new moms are actually working mothers. This is a real issue, especially in this economy where families need dual incomes. But when you have a company like Deutsche Bank where all of the board of directors and executive committee are all men, this sort of stereotype, that a woman when they come back from maternity leave is not going to work hard and is just going to abandon their job, is really what's going on. And you see this with Kelley. And ultimately, she was fired for complaining about it."

In Deutsche Bank's statement to ABC News, the company says "while we take all allegations of discrimination and retaliation very seriously, we will continue to vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations."

Filed under: Lawsuit • Women at work
September 10th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

Award-Winning Journalist Lynn Povich: There are 'still very few women at the top'

Award-winning journalist Lynn Povich is one of 46 women who organized and filed a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1970, citing discrimination against women in hiring and promotion. More than 30 years later, the first promoted female senior editor of Newsweek writes of the experience in her book, “The Good Girls Revolt.”

“We would actually go in to the ladies room. Look under the stalls, see who was there, and if no one else was there, we’d approach someone at the sink and say, ‘You know I have to check a story by this guy and it’s terrible, or I could do it better,’ and if they responded, we’d say, ‘We’re thinking of doing something to change this,’" Povich says of organizing women at Newsweek to file the complaint. "And then we would start reeling people in one by one.”

For Povich, there has been “enormous progress” for women seeking jobs in the media industry and in corporations since 1970. However, there are "still very few women at the top" in the media industry and in corporations, she says. In Newsweek, for example, only 43 of 49 cover stories published in 2009 were written by men.

“I do think that there's still an imbalance," Povich argues. "I think also that women need to push themselves more... It’s a question about how much is discrimination and how much do women still need to have the confidence to go forward, because they certainly have the skill and they certainly have the talent.”

Filed under: Authors • Inspiration • Jobs • Journalism • Justice • Law • Lawsuit • Media • Memoir
June 7th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Widow Mary Ann Easterling joins fight against NFL in class-action brain injury lawsuit

A massive new class action suit is being filed today against the NFL, which claims that the league knew for years that hits could cause long-term brain injuries and that the league tried to hide the problem from both players and fans.

The suit combines more than 80 lawsuits from more than 2,000 former players and their families, including Mary Ann Easterling, who is the widow of Falcons star safety Ray Easterling. You might remember he took his own life in April after he suffered from the symptoms of brain damage for more than 20 years. Mary Ann Easterling joins us this morning. What would you like to see come out of this lawsuit?

Mary Ann Easterling talks to Soledad this morning about what she'd like to see come out of the suit.

Filed under: Brain injury • Lawsuit • NFL