In a case closely followed by mainstream and social media, two Steubenville, Oh., High School football players were found guilty Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl during parties last August, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Judge Thomas Lipps issued his verdict on Ma’lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17. Both defendants apologized to victim, the families, and the community. Mays will serve at least two years in custody, both for rape and for sending nude photos of the Weirton, W.Va., girl; Richmond,will serve at least one year.
The verdict came a day after the teen girl at the center of the case testified for nearly an hour and 40 minutes. She testified it wasn’t her choice to report the incident to police. Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter told Lipps during closing arguments it was clear the girl was drunk, and the defendants took advantage. “They treated her like a toy. She was the perfect victim,” she said. Because of rampant social media attention and the involvement of Internet “hactivists,” the case has drawn international scrutiny to the Ohio Valley town, which places great pride in the winning football team for which both boys played. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that a grand jury will be convened April 15 to investigate whether charges would be filed against others.