Two players from Steubenville High School's legendary football team in Ohio were found guilty Sunday of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while she was extremely drunk. And you know what? The evidence at the volatile and highly contentious rape trial for teen defendants Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond says that verdict is exactly what the pair deserved.
The girl, who hasn't been named, testified that she didn't remember the attack but awoke naked in an unfamiliar house. Multiple witnesses said they saw her so drunk she was throwing up repeatedly and barely able to stand or walk.
Video and photos of the night of the assault were leaked online, including some of 17-year-old Mays and 16-year-old Ma'lik carrying the victim. Obscene text messages, some written by Mays, also detailed what happened. The boys could be confined to a juvenile detention center until they turn 21.
Their lawyers even had the audacity to argue that since the victim didn't say no, the sex was consensual.
Ma'lik and Mays were both found guilty of penetrating the girl with their fingers in the backseat of a car and in the basement of a house after an August 11 party. Mays also was charged with photographing her while she was naked. Both will have to spend at least a year in detention for the first offense. Mays was sentenced to an additional year for taking lewd pictures of the victim.
The crime shocked the community and the nation, in large part because so many fellow students took photos of and joked about the assault online without notifying police or trying to help the girl. Many suspect a widespread cover-up on the part of other players, students, and even coaches, and Ohio's attorney general said more charges are likely to come.
The defense tried to show that the girl had a habit of drinking heavily and lying. But I'm sorry -- does that excuse what these two guys did to her? The answer is definitely no.
This case is, quite simply, horrifying -- not only because of the brutality and cruelty shown by the attackers themselves but because of their heartless friends who laughed at and mocked the victim instead of doing something to stop her from being raped. It just blows my mind that people -- even drunk teenagers -- can be so cold, unfeeling, and utterly without compassion. Do they have no souls? No matter what kind of girl the victim is and no matter how foolish she was for getting that drunk, she didn't deserve to be violated the way she was or derided as the attack was happening and afterwards. The whole thing is sickening.
I hope that while they're serving their sentence, Ma'lik and Mays have a lot of time for the guilt and the gravity of their vicious actions to sink in. And I hope the others who hid the truth in an effort to protect them and their beloved football team are arrested and face the consequences of their inhuman actions too. Shame on all of you for treating a young girl so terribly.
Do you think the guilty verdict was justified in this rape case?
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