LIVE VIDEO: WTLV Live Video_1    Watch
 

2 charged after threats in Ohio rape case

6:14 AM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- Two Ohio girls were arrested after making threats on Facebook and Twitter against a West Virginia girl who accused two high school football players of raping her.

The girls were arrested Monday, the day after the two players were found guilty of raping the drunken 16-year-old girl during an all-night party in August.

Ohio State Attorney General Mike DeWine says the girls are being held in juvenile detention on allegations of aggravated menacing.

The arrests come a day after DeWine announced a grand jury will convene next month to determine whether others broke the law by not speaking up after the attack last summer.

"We're going to push this thing as fast as we can. Bring finality to this to determine if there's anybody else that should be charged," DeWine said. "And then the community needs to move on."

DeWine said coaches, parents and other students may face charges. Text messages introduced at the trial suggested a coach was aware of the rape allegation early on. The coach and the school district have declined to comment.

Steuvenville High's football team has won nine state titles and is a source of pride for the town of 18,000.

"You cannot bring finality to this without the convening of grand jury," DeWine said Sunday. "We have 16 witnesses who wouldn't talk to us."

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, wept and apologized when the judge announced the verdict Sunday after a non-jury trial in juvenile court.

The assault gained international attention after the boys and other students talked about it on Twitter and YouTube and exchanged photos of the naked victim by text.

"No pictures should have been sent around, let alone even taken," said Mays during his brief courtroom apology.

Mays was found delinquent - the equivalent of guilty in juvenile court - and sentenced to at least two years in detention and a maximum of confinement until his 21st birthday. His teammate, Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, was sentenced to at least one year of detention or until his 21st birthday. Juvenile authorities will decide whether the boys will be released before they turn 21.

"My life is over," Richmond said as he collapsed in the arms of his lawyer.

The defendants were convicted of digitally penetrating a West Virginia girl. They will be required to register as sex offenders when released.

Visiting Judge Thomas Lipps said he had reviewed the text messages and photos and found them "profane and ugly." "I'm aware this is the first time they have been in trouble with the law," Lipps said, "but these are serious offenses. If they were convicted in an adult court of these charges, they would be spending many years in prison."

After the verdicts, the victim's mother addressed this comment to the defendants: "You were your own accuser, through the social media."

The boys' attorneys argued that the sexual contact was consensual. Friends of the girl testified they tried to get her to leave the party but she insisted on staying with the boys.

Lipps was appointed an outside judge in the case because the Steubenville High School football team is a source of great pride in this economically depressed steel town. DeWine appointed two attorneys from his office to act as special prosecutors.

The Aug. 11 incident began at the home of a football player who was not charged. The victim drank heavily, including a vodka slushie. She testified Saturday that she could not remember much of the night.

The assaults allegedly occurred in a house and in the back seat of a car while the boys were being driven to another party. Another football player recorded the assault on his phone but deleted the recording the next day. Other photos showed the girl nude or half-clothed and passed out.

When the verdict was announced, 30 advocates for stopping violence against women cheered outside the courthouse. "They think their lives are ruined," Shantella Colsen, 17, said of the defendants. "What about her?"

Contributing: Rachel Huggins; Associated Press

Dennis Cauchon and John Bacon, USA TODAY

Most Watched Videos