News24

2 teens convicted in US rape video case

2013-03-18 12:10

Chicago - Two US teenagers were found guilty on Sunday of raping a fellow high school student - a case made notorious when a video of boys laughing about the assault on the "dead" drunk girl went viral.

Trent Mays, aged 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, aged 16, both high school football players in the small Ohio town of Steubenville, broke down when they heard the verdict: "Delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt" on all counts.

Further charges may be brought against other people involved in the incident, which continued well after the 11 August assault as pictures and videos were shared via text message and uploaded to social media sites like Facebook.

"Many of the things that we learned during this trial that our children were saying and doing were profane, were ugly," said Judge Thomas Lipps.

In one video, high school boys laughed about watching the rape, saying the girl "deserved to be peed on".

Other videos and photos showed Mays and Richmond lifting the unconscious and nearly naked 16-year-old girl by her hands and feet.

Apology

Because they were tried as juveniles, the judge determined the verdict and the sentence, which the boys began serving immediately.

Richmond must serve a minimum of one year in a juvenile rehabilitation facility and a maximum of up until he turns 21, while Mays, charged with a second crime of "illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material", was sentenced to a minimum of two years and a maximum of up until he turns 24.

They both apologised in court to the victim, her family and the community. Richmond said they had "no intentions" to commit the crimes, and Mays said "those pictures shouldn't have been sent around, let alone even taken".

The 16-year-old victim was not in the room, but her mother addressed the court, telling the boys: "You displayed not only a lack of... compassion but a 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. "I have pity for you both."

Ohio Assistant Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter said in opening statements ON Wednesday that the two boys treated the girl like a "toy" and repeatedly degraded her by sending the photos to their friends.

Power and danger of social media


Defence attorneys had disputed the prosecution's assertion that the girl was too drunk to consent, and insisted the boys' actions did not constitute rape.

The case has raised awareness of the power and danger of social media and cyber bullying, as sexually explicit or other humiliating pictures and videos spread like wildfire with a click of a mouse or a tap on a smartphone.

One in six US children aged 12 to 17 have received a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video of someone they know, a recent study by the Pew Research Centre found.

And the Crimes Against Children Research Centre estimated that police investigated nearly 3 500 cases of youth-produced sexual images in 2008 and 2009.

Comments
  • Shamila Ismail - 2013-03-18 12:33

    What they did to this girl was disgusting! They're lucky their sentences are only for a few years. Their victim, however, is serving a life sentence.

  • Patricia Spooner - 2013-03-18 12:34

    South Africa need to take a lesson from this and start doing something about the appalling behaviour of our teenagers!

  • Sumari Van Dyk - 2013-03-18 13:08

    Oh so his only regret is that they got caught because of the pictures? So just next time make sure no one loads them on FB or better yet dont take any... No remorse.. No: "We should have never done this.."

      bibi.vanzyl - 2013-03-18 15:33

      Worst still, not one other child at this party did anything to help but took video footage and went home to bed. On BBC this morning they said they were still investigating 16 other witnesses. How sad.

  • Monique Naude - 2013-03-18 13:10

    Disgusting! They are sexual offenders and should have been given harsher punishment. What kind of parents do they have? Didn't they keep tabs on the kids? Why did they act in such a disgusting and disturbed manner? The parents should also be brought to book. Reminds me of "Beyond Scared Straight" on Crime and Investigation Network. Lacking decent punishment and moral upbringing, we end up with sickening crimes by such young offenders. It makes me sick that they got off so lightly. Castrate them, and let them suffer for the rest of their lives... This girl will never know a healthy relationship, emotional or sexual, because of these kids. They should suffer the same consequence as her.

  • Donovan Nieuwoudt - 2013-03-18 13:15

    Children and teenagers emulate the actions of adults,a lack of role models and a lack of respect.

      Farzana Rahiman - 2013-03-18 13:54

      yep, sad but true, sad but true....

  • Vernon Samuel - 2013-03-18 13:18

    Only in Africa and other thug countries like India!

      willem.grobler.754 - 2013-03-18 13:43

      Wakey, wakey - this happened in the USA...

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-18 14:39

      Tongue firmly in his cheek!

  • Eterni80 - 2013-03-18 13:25

    in a world where rape is happening every minute of every day, the lawmakers of the world need to stand united and levy the harshest possible punishments/sentences possible. if it were up to me, I'd sentence them to hard labor for the next 20 years. human rights groups are so obsessed with the rights of the criminals they don't realise the damage they've done to rights of the victims. this crime stains the soul for all eternity, it's time we made the perpetrators pay in blood.

  • Werner Botha - 2013-03-18 13:58

    No mention of Anonymous that helped expose and uncover evidence that they tried to destroy? Not all "hackers" are bad, when they heard about this they launched #OpRollRedRoll... google it

  • Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-18 14:40

    It's Zuma and the ANC's fault!

  • Kenny Webber - 2013-03-18 15:17

    Not many children or teenagers are taught or know the bible, most Western countries are "faithless" no wonder morals are becoming non - excistent

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