Are They Rapists?

Protesters outside the court house (courtesy of Michael D. McElwain/Steubenville Herald-Star/AP)

Today, the judge in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case is expected to deliver his decision on whether or not high school football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond are guilty.

The young men have been charged as juveniles for rape by digital penetration of a very drunk 16-year-old girl. If convicted, they both face imprisonment in a juvenile facility until they are 21, roughly 4 years.

Incidentally, digital penetration refers to the use of fingers, not some weird cyber sex/computer hacking thing or worse, inserting digital technology into… well, I’m sure you get the picture, as gross as it is. I suggest getting a cover or air-tight case for that iPod if you must participate in such a bizarre and unhygienic act.

But I digress.

On Friday, several key witnesses testified and made life even worse for the young defendants. The first was Evan Westlake, the designated driver who took Mays, Richmond, Mark Coles and the victim to Coles’ home on the night of the alleged rape. And what supposedly happened in the car and later that evening?

Words like tragic, sick and criminal certainly come to mind.

According to Westlake, Mays “fingered” the young girl in the back seat of his Volkswagen Jetta while Coles watched and even snapped some video on his cell phone. Coles later said that only minutes before this “photo shoot,” outside the party, the three boys stood around the passed out girl and offered each other money for being the first to urinate on her.

Thankfully, no one stepped up, at least not for this depravity. The worst was yet to come.

Westlake eventually reached Coles’ house and helped everyone get inside. Before he left, he walked into the basement and stumbled upon a situation most of us would find disturbing. The young girl was lying naked in the middle of the floor, on her side, and had vomited. Beside her was Mays.

He was naked and slapping his penis on the side of her hip.

At the same time, Richmond was lying behind the drunk victim and penetrated her vagina with his fingers “halfway to the knuckle,” as Westlake put it.

“It wasn’t what I expected to see,” he testified Friday. And when asked why he didn’t stop it, Westlake confessed that he “didn’t know exactly what rape was” and thought it involved “forcing yourself on someone.”

Since it didn’t seem Mays and Richmond were forcing themselves on the barely conscious girl, Westlake didn’t think anything was wrong. He said his goodbyes and recounted the response he got from the alleged rapists: “See you Monday at football.”

Yikes.

Another eyewitness who took the stand Friday was classmate Anthony Craig. He stumbled in to the same basement scene as Westlake and observed the young victim.

“She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t talking,” Craig said under oath. “She wasn’t participating.”

This was confirmed by a text message recovered from Mays’ phone that described the victim as “barely moving,” as well as all sorts of eyewitness testimony.

The defendants: Richmond and Mays (courtesy of WEWS)

Before leaving the house, Craig snapped a picture of the naked victim and sent it to several friends, including Coles, who supposedly sent Mays a text about it later.

“Like serious Trent,” Coles supposedly wrote. “You can’t be doing that. And is that your… semen on her stomach?”

“Ha ha ha. Yeah,” Mays texted back.

I forgot to mention that Mays allegedly sprayed his victim with man juice. Disgusting.

The unfortunate thing about Friday was that all the guys who testified against Mays and Richmond received immunity for doing so. We’re talking about one guy who drove them around and two guys who stumbled across the rape, but did nothing to stop it.

Craig even took a picture, for Christ’s sake!

Saturday wasn’t much better for the defendants, but it beat the hell out of Friday.

On Saturday, the 16-year-old victim took the stand and described what little she recalled of that fateful August evening and morning after. And let me tell you, it wasn’t much.

She remembered mixing vodka with slushies at the party, but her only other memory was of waking up on the curb the next morning, dirty and vomiting. This fell right in line with the stories of numerous eyewitnesses, all of whom described her as being extremely wasted and far too drunk to move or speak.

In the days following the rape, the victim learned more about what happened from friends and classmates, some of whom shared pictures and other information online. One classmate posted a video of himself making fun of the assault, and that finally prompted her to visit the hospital and, subsequently, identify her attackers.

She didn’t want to identify them, though.

“Honestly, I was praying that everything I heard wasn’t true,” she said Saturday. “I didn’t want to get myself into drama because I knew everyone would just blame me.”

Sadly, she’s probably right. And I imagine that’s why so many rapes go unreported each year. What a sad state of affairs.

At any rate, it looks as if this case will come to an end soon, hopefully by the end of the day. I’ve tried to be as fair to the defendants as possible in this article—using words like alleged and supposedly throughout—but the evidence and eyewitness testimony is difficult to ignore. Between you and me, I think they’re guilty as hell and need to be locked up.

Of course, a guilty verdict still means that only two of the five rape participants will be incarcerated, so will justice ever truly be served? I, for one, have my doubts.

UPDATE: As expected, the judge in this case found both teenage boys guilty of raping that drunk, 16-year-old girl. Looks like their next stop will be in a juvenile detention facility. I certainly hope they both learn the error of their ways.

Posted on March 17, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “Incidentally, digital penetration refers to the use of fingers, not some weird cyber sex/computer hacking thing or worse, inserting digital technology into… well, I’m sure you get the picture, as gross as it is. I suggest getting a cover or air-tight case for that iPod if you must participate in such a bizarre and unhygienic act.”

    Sometimes I feel like I’m reading a tabloid when I read your blog, dude. Is this really a respectful way to write about rape? (Rhetorical question: the answer is no.)

    Also: “man juice”? If you’re into breaking down the thinking that leads to something like this happening, you gotta stop saying things like “man juice”. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

    It’s pretty hard for me to take “what a sad state of affairs” with any sincerity when there’s so much uncalled for “humor” in this post.

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