A rape trial in Ohio gives a big lesson
For a 16-year-old West Virginia girl, last summer ended with a party in Steubenville, just across the river from Weirton. Thrilled to attend, she got in way over her head.
Drunk, she passed out. She woke up the next morning naked and humiliated.
She remembered nothing, but over the next two days put together what happened - thanks in no small part to pictures posted online of two stars of the Steubenville High School football team abusing her naked body.
"They treated her like a toy," said special prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter.
On Sunday, Ohio Special Judge Thomas Lipps found quarterback Trent Mays, 17, and wide receiver Ma'lik Richmond, 16, guilty of charges related to her rape and sent them to juvenile detention facilities.
Mays will serve a minimum of two years to a maximum of four years, when he turns 21. Richmond will serve a minimum of one year to a maximum of five, when he turns 21.
A judge will determine later if they must register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Given the way they took advantage of a young woman, that would be appropriate.
Both men expressed remorse upon being found guilty. Tears streamed from Richmond's eyes. But if they really had regrets, they would have pleaded guilty and spared her having to testify before an international press.
Mays and Richmond are far from the only criminals in this horror show.
Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine and his staff are sorting through text messages, videos and assorted evidence and will present a case to a grand jury concerning those who aided and abetted Mays and Richmond in their rape.
A tape shows one man exclaiming during the ordeal, "She is so raped."
Here is hoping that young man is given a timeout in a youthful offenders facility, because he certainly needs time to contemplate the difference between right and wrong.
It's a horrible case. These men have been held accountable for what they did.
But what were 16- and 17-year-olds doing in this situation? How could bystanders record these events? Where did the juveniles involved get the alcohol?
Where were the responsible adults?
These are questions all parents and guardians, and all young women and men, have to think about.