STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Two high school football stars were found guilty on Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl last August, in a case that drew wide attention for the way social media spurred the initial prosecution and later helped galvanize national outrage over the episode. The town’s obsession over its football team, many said, had shielded other teenagers who did little or nothing to protect the girl.
One football player, Trent Mays, 17, who had been a quarterback on the powerhouse Steubenville High School football team, was sentenced to serve at least two years in the state juvenile system, while the other, Ma’lik Richmond, 16, who played wide receiver, was sentenced to serve at least one year. Both could end up in juvenile jail until they are 21, at the discretion of the state Department of Youth Services. Mr. Mays’ minimum sentence is twice as long as Mr. Richmond’s because he was found guilty of two different charges.
After Judge Thomas Lipps read his decision, both boys broke down and sobbed. Mr. Richmond turned to his lawyer, Walter Madison, and said, “My life is over.”
Both Mr. Mays and Mr. Richmond apologized to the victim and her family. Mr. Richmond walked over to where they were sitting and said, “I had not intended to do anything like this. I’m sorry to put you through this,” before he broke down, unable to speak any more, and embraced a court officer.
The judge found that both boys had used their fingers to penetrate the girl while she was so drunk in the early morning hours of Aug. 12 that she lacked the cognitive ability to give her consent for sex. A picture that was circulated around classmates the day after the assault showed the victim naked and passed out. Ohio law defines rape as including digital penetration.