The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 17, 2013

Ohio teens guilty of rape, face year-plus in jail

(Continued)

The girl herself recalled being in a car later with Mays and Richmond and asking them what happened.

"They kept telling me I was a hassle and they took care of me," she testified. "I thought I could trust him (Mays) until I saw the pictures and video."

In questioning her account, defense attorneys went after her character and credibility. Two former friends of the girl testified that the accuser she was drinking heavily that night, had a history of doing so and was known to lie.

"The reality is, she drank, she has a reputation for telling lies," said lawyer Walter Madison, representing Richmond.

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

After the trial, the accuser's mother rebuked the boys for "lack of any moral code."

"You were your own accuser, through the social media that you chose to publish your criminal conduct on," she said.

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 themselves.

None of them were charged, fueling months of online accusations of a cover-up to protect the team, which law enforcement authorities have vehemently denied.

Instead, the teens were granted immunity to testify, and their accounts helped incriminate the defendants. They said the girl was so drunk she didn't seem to know what was happening to her and confirmed she was assaulted.

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