Ohio high school football players found guilty of raping 16-year-old girl
Two Steubenville, Ohio high school football players have been found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl, a juvenile court judge ruled Sunday.
Judge Thomas Lipps said the teens, ages 17 and 16, attacked the girl at an alcohol-fueled party last August.They could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 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.
On Saturday, the 16-year-old West Virginia girl took the stand and said she could not recall what happened the night of the alleged attack.
She said she remembers drinking at a party last August, leaving the party then throwing up later. She testified that the next thing she remembers is waking up naked in a strange house.
The girl said she learned she was assaulted when she later read text messages among friends, and saw a photo of herself and a video made that night.
Two former friends the accuser testified for the defense Saturday that the accuser had a history of drinking heavily and was known to lie about things.
Defense attorneys went after the character and credibility of the alleged victim on the fourth day of the nonjury trial for the teen teammates in juvenile court.
The two are charged with digitally penetrating the accuser, first in a car and then in the basement of a house, while out partying Aug. 12. The 17-year-old also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. The two maintain their innocence.
On the stand Saturday, a West Virginia high school student said the accuser told her what happened two days after the alleged attack then, sometime afterward, told her she couldn’t remember what happened.
“So two different versions?” asked the 17-year-old accused teen’s attorney Adam Nemann.
“Yes,” the witness replied.
Earlier, she had testified that the accuser was flirting at the party with the 16-year-old.
Both the witness and a schoolmate testified they were angry at the accuser because she was drinking heavily at the party and because of her behavior, which they said included rolling around on the floor. They said they tried unsuccessfully to get her to stop drinking.
One of the students said she also tried to get her friend to stay at the party rather than leave with others, including the two defendants.
“When I told her not to leave, I was trying to, like, pull her back into the party. She was trying to shrug me off,” she testified. “She kind of hit me.”
The accuser was also expected to testify Saturday.
The case has riveted the small city of Steubenville amid allegations that more students should have been charged and led to questions about the influence of the local football team, a source of pride in a community that suffered massive job losses with the collapse of the steel industry.
The witness, whose lawyer was present during her testimony, appeared, like all of the trial’s teen witnesses, reluctant to be there.
The day after the party, when she and another friend picked up the accuser from the house where she’d stayed, the accuser said she had no memory of the night before, she testified under questioning by defense attorney Walter Madison.
“We didn’t have sex, I swear,”‘ she said, describing the accuser’s comment.
The witness said she’d seen the girl drink heavily in the past and that she no longer speaks to her.
The case has featured disturbing testimony from teens, both in person and in graphic text messages, and has shined an unwelcome light on what students in the community once considered private conversations. Some teenage witnesses winced at times as they were forced to read adult language from texts.
She repeatedly said she couldn’t remember statements she made to police last September about the night of the party. Midway through her testimony, special judge Thomas Lipps agreed to let her listen to a 40-minute recording of her statement to refresh her memory.
On Friday, three teenage boys granted immunity for their testimony said the accuser was drunk and didn’t seem to know what was happening to her that night.
The three teens spoke Friday of the West Virginia girl’s behavior the night of a party and described her being digitally penetrated in a car and later on a basement floor.
One witness testified that he took a video of the 17-year-old and the girl in the car, then deleted it later that morning. He testified he saw the 17-year-old unsuccessfully try to have the girl perform oral sex on him later in the basement of his house. He also testified that the girl was intoxicated and slurring her words.
Another witness testified he saw the 16-year-old’s encounter with the girl in the basement, as did the other witness. A witness also confirmed that he filmed a 12-minute video, later passed around widely online, in which another student joked about the attack.
One testified that he saw the 16-year-old’s hand in the “crotch region” of the girl, a less descriptive version than he gave last fall in another hearing.
If convicted, the two teens could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Editors’ Note: The Associated Press named the minors charged due to the fact they have been identified in other news coverage and their names were used in open court. FoxNews.com will not name the defendants.
Via: Fox News