A guilty verdict was handed down Sunday (March 17) in a r@pe case that rocked the town of Steubenville, Ohio. Two star football players, accused of assaulting a teen girl, while a college student listened next door, could remain behind bars until they are 21.
Suspects, and Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16,were both found guilty of assaulting the intoxicated teen in August of last year. Richmond wept as the guilty verdict was read, before apologizing to the family of the victim. “I’m sorry, for putting you guys through this. I’m sorry,” he said through tears.
The case attracted the attention of bloggers — and even the loosely organized hacking group, Anonymous — who questioned everything from the behavior of the football team to the integrity of the investigation.
Judge Thomas Lipps announced his decision after reviewing evidence presented over four days of testimony in the case against Mays and Richmond, who were tried as juveniles.
Mays was also found guilty of disseminating a nude photo of a minor.
The ruling brings an end to a trial that gained media attention for its lurid text messages, cell phone pictures and videos, and social media posts surrounding the sexual abuse of the girl.
A slue of damaging text messages admitted into evidence proved that the girl had no recollection of what happened the night she was attacked.
Although she was not present during final court proceedings, her mother read a statement after the verdict. “Human compassion is not taught by a teacher, a coach or a parent. It is a God-given gift instilled in all of us,” she said. “You displayed not only a lack of this compassion, but a lack of any moral code.”
Bob Fitzsimmons, a lawyer for the girl, said that she was “really happy” that the five-day trial, has ended. “Remember, she is a 16-year-old girl still and she’s a high school student,” he explained. “She just wants to get back with her normal life, as does the family. It is a big relief to her at this point.”
Judge Lipps is said to have handed down the sentence to the boys to make an example out of the teens, given the controversy behind the case and the town’s treatment football stars, who are often held in high esteem.
Richmond has to spend at least a year in custody, Mays must serve at least two years, but both are in fear of being behind bars until 21. They have each been given credit for time served, and must stay away from the victim until they reach 21.
The young man who heard the incident, and recorded himself laughing and saying that the victim was “so r@ped right now,” will not face criminal charges since he didn’t actually witness anything.
Click below to view photos from the trial.