During the second day of a high-profile rape trial of two Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players, prosecutors introduced into evidence text messages describing a sex act between one of the defendants and the alleged victim.
Prosecutors said Trent Mays, 17, admitted in one text message that he penetrated a 16-year-old West Virginia girl with his hands, the Associated Press reports. In other messages sent to his friends, prosecutors said, he asked them to cover for him.
Testimony on Thursday focused on text messages, photos and cellphone video from the night in August when the girl says she was attacked.
One text message the prosecution introduced Thursday read was attributed to the alleged victim: "I wasn't being a slut. They were taking advantage of me." Prosecutors said the girl was texting a friend who authorities say saw what happened, the AP reports.
In another text message, the girl says she can't remember anything from the night of the attack and is trying to piece together what happened, the AP reports. She says, via text, she thinks she was drugged.
Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, both high school football players, are accused of sexually assaulting the girl after a party in August. The case gained national attention when it blew up on social media.
Prosecutors say the girl was unable to consent to sex acts because she was too drunk. Defense attorneys counter that although the girl was intoxicated, she was in control of her actions.
Special Judge Thomas Lipps is presiding over the trial in Steubenville juvenile court, without a jury.
Text messages, cellphone pictures and digital video are a huge part of the case. Among the crucial evidence was a photo posted on the photo-sharing website Instagram that shows the two defendants carrying the girl out of a house by her arms and legs, NBC News reports. A YouTube video of a teen who was at the party joking about the case went viral.
Capt. Joel Walker of the Steubenville Police Department testified Thursday that photos of a nude girl were found on the cellphone belonging to one of the defendants, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. One photo shows the girl nude on a couch and in another, she was nude on a floor with her arms underneath her, Walker testified.
The case has polarized the struggling industrial town of fewer than 20,000 residents, raising questions over whether football players get special treatment, and whether more teens should have been charged. It has also focused the spotlight on what happens when teen drinking, sex and social media mix.
A special judge and special prosecutors have been brought in by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine because local officials have a relationships with people associated with the football team.
Mays and Richmond, who could face incarceration until age 21 if convicted, maintain they are innocent.
Investigators in Ohio's forensics lab collected 17 devices - mostly cellphones - and analyzed text messages, photos, videos and contact lists.
Computer expert Joann Gibb was on the stand Thursday afternoon, testifying about how investigators culled evidences from the devices.
Richmond and Mays are charged with sexually assaulting the girl after a party Aug. 11, first in the back seat of a moving car and then in the basement of a house. Mays also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
Witnesses have said the girl was so drunk she vomited at least two times that night. She also had trouble walking and talking. Special prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter described the girl in court as "somebody who was too impaired to say no, somebody who was too impaired to say stop."
Defense attorney Adam Nemann, who represents Mays, told The New York Times that he intends to prove that "there was no rape."
Prosecutors will call three teenage boys to the stand this week. Defense attorneys could call the girl to testify because a West Virginia judge ruled Tuesday that she and two of her friends could be subpoenaed.
The case has rocked the small town of Steubenville, which isn't far from Ohio's border with Pennsylvania. City officials held a news conference earlier this week to stress that the city itself was not on trial.
"Regardless of the outcome, the case shouldn't be reflective of our town. Steubenville is a good place, and we are proud to be from Steubenville," City Manager Cathy Davison said.
As a policy, USA TODAY usually does not name minors charged in juvenile court. However, Mays and Richmond have been identified by name in open court, on the city of Steubenville's website about the case, and in numerous news media reports.
Contributing: Associated Press
Cara Richardson, USA TODAY