Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steubenville Rape Trial Begins Prosecutors Say Girl Too Drunk to Consent

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steubenville Rape Trial Begins Prosecutors Say Girl Too Drunk to Consent

Article excerpt

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- A 16-year-old girl was so intoxicated from drinking blue slushes spiked with vodka last August that she could not consent to sex with two high school football players charged with raping her after a night of partying, prosecutors said Wednesday.

In the first day of a nonjury trial for the players, Malik Richmond and Trent Mays, Assistant Ohio Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter said the two degraded the girl and used her as a "toy" by assaulting her, taking photos of her naked and texting the images to friends.

Ms. Hemmeter told Judge Thomas Lipps that she would prove the girl, who attended a Catholic high school across the Ohio River in West Virginia, was "somebody who was too impaired to say no, somebody who was too impaired to say stop."

Ms. Hemmeter said Trent, 17, penetrated her with his fingers in the back of a car while she was too drunk to know what was happening. Malik, 16, is accused of doing the same thing in the basement of a friend's house later that night while Trent tried to get her to have oral sex.

Lawyers for the boys deny their clients raped the girl and have indicated they will attempt to show that she was alert and able to give consent.

The case has divided the small town of 18,000 amid allegations that police should have brought charges against more students who watched what happened, passed around photos or joked about it online. Media interest has been so intense that officials at the Jefferson County Justice Center have set up separate rooms for reporters to watch on closed-circuit TV and instituted special security measures.

The first day of testimony from teen witnesses did not shed much new light on the allegations, but one boy did admit that he offered to pay his pals $3 if they would urinate on the girl as she sat in the street shirtless.

"That was me," said Patrick Pizzoferrato, 17. "But it was a joke. …

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