17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond will wear the label “sex offender” for the rest of their lives.
In a much publicized story, two star football players for Steubenville Ohio’s high school team known as “Big Red” were convicted in juvenile court of sexual misconduct with a 16 year old girl.
When charges were brought on the two young men, it divided the population of just over 19,000. Part of the town owes its identity to football. Critics have accused community leaders of trying to paper over rampant misconduct by players of the highly regarded “Big Red” football team and have suggested that other students took part in the assaults or failed to do enough to stop them.
The girl doesn’t remember the events that took place in the late evening of August 11th, and the morning of August 12th. She drank at least four shots of vodka, two beers and some of a slushy mixed with vodka, a 16-year-old witness said.
The case received national notoriety because of lurid text messages, cell phone pictures and videos.
Visiting judge Thomas Lipps handed down his decision Sunday. According to prosecutors, Richmond and Mays each penetrated the victim’s vagina with their fingers, an act that constitutes rape under Ohio law if it is not consensual. Mays was also found guilty of disseminating a nude photo of a minor.
Mays was sentenced to 2 years in a juvenile facility, and Richmond to 1, but could be detained until he is 21, like Mays.
28 witnesses took the stand during the 4 day trial, the girl who was raped being the last. She said she had no memory of the occurrence, only that she had awoken the next morning naked, in a strange house. Various counts of the evening’s events were exposed, and their testimony, combined with texts and videos convinced Judge Lipps that the young men had indeed committed the crime.
Prosecutors cast aside all the outside attention the trial received.
“This case isn’t about a YouTube video. This case isn’t about social media. This case isn’t about Big Red football,” she told the judge.
“This case is about a 16-year-old girl who was taken advantage of, toyed with and humiliated. And it’s time people who did this to her are held responsible.”
Columnist-The Guardian Express