Prior to her appearance today, the still unidentified accuser was subjected to daylong character bashing by the defense who questioned two of her alleged ex-best friends in an attempt to discredit her.
Each characterized the girl as a liar and a partier and also hinted at promiscuity, although pursuant to Ohio 's rape victim laws the judge disallowed any further probing into the young lady's past.
Charged with being the ringleaders in the repeated rape of the out-of-state minor, Trent Mays and his co-defendant Ma'Lik Richmond had already sat unflinching through hours of damningly graphic testimony provided by their fellow players, Mark Cole, Evan Westlake and Anthony Craig.
And the ugly truth came straight from the horse's mouthÂ—all three of those witnesses admitted they too either filmed the attack on the unconscious 16-year-old, transported her from party to party by her wrists and ankles, or otherwise participated in one of the most prolonged and shocking sexual assaults in modern history.
Mays, 17, and Richmond, 16, are the only ones being charged for the gang assault. Those testifying against them this week have been granted immunity from prosecution, after originally refusing to cooperate with investigators and pleading the Fifth.
The dirty duo was photographed in court this morning with their heads bowed low, but evidently not in a show of shame, as one might hope and expect. Instead both appeared to be smirking.
In the big picture, these seemingly remorseless sex offenders may indeed have something to laugh about, because they're only being tried as juveniles for an undeniably adult crime that most adults wouldn't dream of perpetrating.
Furthermore, even when convicted, the two youths can still only be imprisoned until their twenty-first birthdays; upon release, their criminal records permanently sealed. Albeit what such hopelessly depraved young men will then do with the rest of their lives is anybody's guess.
Stumbling self-consciously at times, Mays' and Richmond's buddies confirmed the victim's contentions and what has all along been obvious from videos they took the night of the rape and uploaded onto the internet: The girl was passed out, presumably slipped a date rape drug in advance, and completely unable to give her consent to the numerous violations she was subjected to.
Today, when lawyers for the prosecution showed the victim images the youths had taken of her during the assault, the girl openly wept.
The Rape Crew's similar misdeeds throughout the years, and the degree to which this has been condoned and covered up by an economically depressed community focusing all their hopes on high school powerhouse football, has taken center stage in the highly-publicized controversy and trial.
Most Steubenville locals have expressed resentment at the attention and criticism the Ohio rape trial has brought to their doorsteps. They blame the victim for what happened and claim their small city is only under fire now because of how successful Big Red football has been season after season for decades.
Towns like Steubenville fawning over their talented athletes is not a new or peculiar phenomena, of course, especially in the United States where sports are a main staple of American life and star players are often idolized like gods.
But when self-deluded parents, police, politicians, coaches, teachers, and the student body itself co-conspire to create an environment for their young heroes where anything they do is perfectly all right, even criminal acts such as drugging, kidnapping and raping, then in this age of Twitter and Facebook they needn't be so shocked when consequences of the current magnitude arise.
The nonjury trial of Mays and Richmond is expected to continue into tomorrow with a possible verdict rendered soon thereafter since the judge hearing the matter has vowed to conclude things as quickly as possible.
With all the world's eyes focused on those court proceedings now, his decision is also bound to be intensely scrutinized.
Image credit: Steubenville "Big Red" football team official logo
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