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Steubenville Teens Pronounced Guilty of Sexual Assault

Protesters still seeking wider investigation into complicity of attack witnesses

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A judge announced Sunday that two Steubenville, Ohio high school football players have been found guilty of sexual assault in a highly-publicized trial that drew questions of a community's complicity in this criminal act.

Protesters, many wearing Guy Fawkes masks, rallied outside the Jefferson County Courthouse demanding a more thorough investigation into the alleged rape of a teenage girl by two members of the Steubenville High School football team. (Photo: Lake Fong/Post-Gazette) 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond were pronounced guilty of sexually assaulting a female while she was severely intoxicated and unconscious. Both defendants received delinquent verdicts, the guilty equivalent for juveniles, on all three charges against them.

The teens will serve their sentence at a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21.

The Associated Press reports that "evidence introduced at the trial included graphic text messages sent by numerous students after the night of the party, including by the accuser, containing provocative descriptions of sex acts and obscene language."

Ahead of the case, they write, the community was "roiled" amid allegations that more students should have been charged for their complicity in the attack for allowing it to take place, particularly three other boys—two of them members of Steubenville High's celebrated Big Red team—who "saw something happening that night and didn't try to stop it but instead recorded it."

In January, the New York Times reported that many members of the community, including the football coach, had been defensive of the charges and wary of assigning blame for the alleged rape because, Nation blogger Alison Killkenny writes, "the community assigns something like a God-like status to football players."

The case gained national attention after video and photo footage from the night of the incident went viral including a video of another Steubenville teen who witnessed the attack joking and bragging about the incident, which was leaked by a 'hacktivist' group Anonymous who wanted to draw attention to the scandal and alleged 'cover-up' by local officials.

Ohio's attorney general plans to announce later Sunday whether additional charges will be brought in the case, including against the three other boys, the Associated Press reports.

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