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Steubenville rape case: 2 high school football players found guilty, face year-plus in jail

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Two Ohio high school football players were found guilty of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party.

Judge Thomas Lipps ruled Sunday that Steubenville High School students Trent Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond are guilty of attacking the girl last August.

Mays, 17, and Richmond, 16, were charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in a car and then in the basement of a house.

Both broke down in tears after the verdict was read. Lipps sentenced them both to at least one year in juvenile jail and said both can be held until they're 21. Mays was sentenced to an additional year in jail on a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, to be served after his rape sentence is completed. They were ordered to avoid contact with the victim until they're 21.

The case divided the community amid allegations that more students should have been charged and led to questions about the influence of the football team, a local source of a pride.

The verdict capped a case that came to light via a barrage of morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video.

The teenage girl testified Saturday that she could not recall what happened the night of the attack but remembered waking up naked in a strange house after drinking at a party. She recalled drinking, leaving the party holding hands with Mays and throwing up later. When she woke up, she said she discovered her phone, earrings, shoes, and underwear were missing, she testified.

The girl said she believed she was assaulted when she later read text messages among friends and saw a photo of herself taken that night, along with a video that made fun of her and the alleged attack. She said she suspected she had been drugged because she couldn't explain being as intoxicated as defense witnesses have said she was.

She said that she does not remember being photographed as she was carried by Mays and Richmond, an image that stirred up outrage, first locally, then globally, as it spread online. Others have testified the photo was a joke and the girl was conscious when it was taken.

The photograph led to allegations that three other boys, two of them members of Steubenville High's celebrated Big Red team, saw something happening that night and didn't try to stop it but instead recorded it.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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