The small town of Stubenville, Ohio has been divided over allegations that members of a high school football team r@ped a teen girl. News of the assault was made public thanks to footage posted online by the hacker group Anonymous.
Ma'lik Richmond, and Trent Mays, both 16, have been charged with the crime which allegedly occurred last August during a party. Meanwhile, the town is split over whether or not officials tried to cover up the attack since the boys are stars of the Big Red football team, prompting the creation of a website attempting to set the record straight.
Richmond's former legal guardians appeared on NBC's TODAY show this morning vowing to support him, no matter what. “It doesn't matter to us,” said Jennifer Agresta, one half of the couple that took Richmond in for two years. He is currently on house arrest at their home. “We love him regardless of what happened that evening. We want him to know that we support him. When he left our home as a young child, the last thing I said to him when I dropped him off was, ‘Ma'lik, if you ever need anything, good or bad, we are a phone call way.' When called us…we had to be there for him.”
Walter Madison, Richmond's attorney, was also on hand to interject before the couple could answer any questions that could potentially damage his client's credibility. An image of Richmond helping to hold the girl, who appears to be passed out, has also been leaked to the ‘Net. When host, Matt Lauer, asked the two if he was involved in the act, Madison stepped in. “That's a very difficult question for them,” he said. “Under advice of counsel, I've shielded the family, and I've tried to protect the integrity of this attorney-client relationship.”
Additionally, Michael Nodianos, the teen who can be heard laughing about the victim getting “so r@ped” while he listened from a hotel room nearby withdrew from The Ohio State University, amid all scrutiny he's received.
The victim in the case has yet to speak out as she and her family are still healing from the matter. Authorities are seeking a change of venue for the trial.
Watch footage of Nodianos below.
Photo: journal de la renya