Steubenville Football Players Found Guilty of Rape


A judge found Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two Steubenville high school football players, guilty on Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl after a party in August 2012.

According to CNN, Judge Thomas Lipps announced his decision in the non-jury trial after four days of testimony. Mays, 17, and Richmond, 16, have been found delinquent (the juvenile equivalent of a guilty verdict) on all three counts as charged, and face the possibility of being jailed until they turn 21.

On the fourth day of testimony in the Steubenville rape trial, the 16-year-old girl who says she was raped by two high school football players testified that she could not recall what happened the night of the sexual assault, but remembers waking up naked in a strange house after drinking at a party.

Defense attorneys for accused football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, meanwhile, tried to discredit the girl’s credibility by calling two witnesses (former friends of the girl), who testified that the accuser had a history of heavy drinking and was known to lie about things. The AP reported that Saturday morning’s testimony focused primarily on the accuser’s character, since defense attorneys had thus far tried to portray her as intoxicated but still in control of her actions the night of the party.

Texts centering on the night of the party reviewed Thursday in the non-jury trial revealed that the girl had only learned of her sexual assault second-hand. On Friday, three key teenage witnesses (granted immunity for their testimony) were reported to have heavily damaged the defense by testifying that the girl was digitally penetrated on two separate occasions the night of the party: once in the backseat of a car, and again in the basement of a house of one of the witnesses, Mark Cole.

Cole testified that he recorded video of Mays and the girl in the car, but subsequently deleted it, adding that Mays tried unsuccessfully to have the girl perform oral sex on him in the basement. Another witness, Evan Westlake, testified that he saw Richmond’s encounter with the girl in the basement (he also confirmed that he filmed a 12-minute video, in which another Steubenville student makes jokes about the attack). The third witness, Anthony Craig, offered what the AP described as “a less descriptive” version of testimony he provided last fall, saying he saw Richmond’s hand in the girl’s “crotch region.”

After all of Friday’s round of heavy bombardment, the defense seemed to have no other play left but questioning the accuser’s credibility, which is the exact moment over the course of a rape trial when casual observers feel their souls withering like fall leaves.

The AP recounted the testimony of Kelsey Weaver and Gianna Anile, West Virginia high school students and former friends of the accuser who both say that the girl offered conflicting accounts of the events that took place the night of the party:

West Virginia high school student Kelsey Weaver said the accuser told her what happened two days after the alleged attack then, sometime afterward, told Weaver she couldn’t remember what happened.
“So two different versions?” asked Mays’ attorney Adam Nemann.
“Yes,” Weaver replied.
Earlier, Weaver testified that the accuser was flirting at the party with Richmond.
Both Weaver and schoolmate Gianna Anile testified they were angry at the accuser because she was drinking heavily at the party and rolling around on the floor. They said they tried unsuccessfully to get her to stop drinking.

Anile also testified that she tried unsuccessfully to get her friend to leave the party, and that the next day when Anile and another friend picked the girl up from the house where she’d stayed, the girl said she had no memory of the night before, and, according to Anile, added, “We didn’t have sex, I swear.”

In her own testimony later on Saturday, the girl said she had no memory of making such a comment to Anile, nor does she remember being photographed being carried Mays and Richmond.

Two teens found guilty in Ohio rape case [CNN]

Teen In Steubenville Rape Case: ‘I Could Not Remember Anything” [AP via HuffPo]

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