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Rape trial begins for Ohio teens

– A 16-year-old girl was “substantially impaired” after an alcohol-fueled party, was unable to consent to sex, and suffered humiliation and degradation when raped by two high school football players, a prosecutor said Wednesday in her opening statement at their trial.

A lawyer for defendant Trent Mays said his 17-year-old client “did not rape the young lady in question.”

Special Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter and Mays’ attorney, Brian Duncan, spoke at the opening of the juvenile court trial, which has drawn international attention to a small town in a football-loving region of eastern Ohio.

Hemmeter told Judge Thomas Lipps, who is hearing the case without a jury, that she would show that the girl was “somebody who was too impaired to say ‘no,’ somebody who was too impaired to say ‘stop.’ ”

The attorney for Mays’ co-defendant, Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, gave no opening statement.

The case has divided the community amid allegations that more students should have been charged. It also has led to questions about the influence of the local football team, a source of a pride in a community that suffered heavy job losses with the collapse of the steel industry.

Richmond and Mays are charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in the back seat of a moving car after a party Aug. 11 and then in the basement of a house. Mays also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

In an excerpt of a videotaped interview with ABC’s “20/20,” Richmond said the photo was a joke. He contends the girl was awake and was a willing participant, the show said.

If convicted, Mays and Richmond, who deny wrongdoing, could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21. The Associated Press normally does not identify minors charged in juvenile court, but Mays and Richmond have been widely named in news coverage.

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