Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ohio football players found GUILTY of raping teenage girl

The two football players at the center of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case have been found guilty by the  judge presiding over the case.  Both teenage boys — Trent Mays, 16, and Ma'lik Richmond, 17, who were star athletes at Steubenville High School — were handed guilty verdicts after four days of intense, emotionally-charged testimony.

Judge Thomas Lipps — who decided the case without a jury —ruled Sunday that the students are guilty of attacking the 16-year-old West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party last August. After going through four days of testimony, text messages, Twitter posts, witnesses and photos — including the indelible image of the unconscious girl being dragged by two boys — the judge made his decision.

The judge sentenced them to one year each at juvenile detention centers, and can be held there until they turn 21; both have them have been ordered to avoid contact with the 16-year-old girl until she turns 21.

The boys broke down and were seen weeping after the juvenile court verdict was announced.

Ohio's attorney general planned to announce later Sunday whether additional charges will be brought in the case, including against the three other boys.

In an impassioned address in court yesterday, prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter described the accuser as "the perfect victim."

"This isn’t a case about anything other than a very, very vulnerable girl. This case isn’t about a Youtube video. It isn’t about social media. It isn’t about Big Red [the local football team of which both defendants are members]."

"This is about a 16-year-old girl who was taken advantage of and treated like a toy and it’s time that the people who did that to her are held accountable. The things that made her an imperfect witness, she couldn’t remember, made her the perfect victim."

The prosecution has never hinged on "consent or force" Ms Hemmeter said but on proving 'substantial intoxication,' something she claimed they had done beyond all doubt.

"They’re there when she’s stumbling and puking, they’re carrying her like a rag doll, they're stepping on her hair. Substantial intoxication - that's what made her the victim because without that NONE of this goes down."

The case — and its perceived cover-up by football boosters — had attracted world-wide attention and divided the blue collar town.

Steubenville's football team had been a source of pride within the community in the small, Rust-Belt town that was struggling financially following the loss of hundreds of steel-worker jobs.

That source of optimism is now tainted as well.

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