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Day One Of The Steubenville Gang Rape Trial – ‘She Was Treated Like A Toy’

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Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 6.25.12 PMYesterday began the Steubenville, Ohio Big Red football gang rape trial and six witnesses testified, all choosing to not have their testimonies televised. In opening statements, attorney Marianne Hemmeter of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office stated that the 16-year-old victim, the Jane Doe in this case, was in no condition to give her consent to any of the activities that took place during the evening of August 11th and the early morning of August 12th. Her name was mentioned during opening statements, but I will continue to call her Jane Doe out of respect for the victim, her assault and her age. Hemmeter stated that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, the two 16-year-old football players accused of raping Jane Doe, were able to drag her from house to house and commit the acts they are accused of because of the victim’s inebriation level.  “This case will hinge on the defendant’s knowledge of how drunk she was. They took advantage of it, and quite frankly, they treated her like a toy,” stated Hemmeter. Several teen witnesses during the day stated that the victim had been drinking vodka mixed with a convenience store slushy drink and that she became inebriated very quickly.

The parties began at the Belardine house, which belongs to assistant coach Matt Belardine, and during the probable cause hearing it was stated that the party was hosted by his 16-year-old sister, with roughly 30-40 people in attendance. Then the party moved to the Howarth house where it was stated that the victim vomited numerous times. When they were asked to leave this location, the victim was vomiting in the street with her blouse removed, and someone was offering money to people willing to urinate on her. The infamous photograph of the victim being held by Richmond and Mays was taken at this location.The young girl who testified to this requested that the boys stop dragging her around because they were stepping on the victim’s hair. Shortly after, Ma’lik Richmond threw the victim over his shoulder and took her out of the house.

It was during the car ride to their final destination of the house belonging to Mark Cole where Cole filmed a video on his cell phone of Trent Mays digitally penetrating the victim with his fingers by Trent Mays. At the previous locations, other peers and party-atendees witnessed a photograph taken of the victim posted on social media and sent to their cell phones where she is said to have been on her hands and knees, her pants off, with Trent Mays behind her spreading her buttocks. Richmond is shown in the background. A witness testified that he “thought they had just had sex with her.” Michael Nodianos was also shown this photograph and that is what prompted his 12 minute rant against the victim, claiming she was “raped” and that she was a “dead girl.” When asked about the photograph, a witness stated “Everyone was shocked as to what was going on. There was a mixture of jokes going around and people being scared.”  Hemmeter said the victim again was digitally penetrated in the basement of the Cole house. She said a photograph was taken of the victim on her side and it appeared there was semen on her.

One of the young female witnesses who testified claimed she had also seen a photograph where it appeared the victim had been urinated on. DNA testing done on a blanket recovered from the Cole home showed semen belonging to Trent Mays on the blanket.

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