Steubenville Rape Trial Accuser's Veracity Questioned

by
Reuters
The trial of two Ohio high school football players accused of raping an incapacitated 16-year-old girl resumed on Saturday with two former friends of the accuser testifying that she had a reputation for dishonesty.

The trial of two Ohio high school football players accused of raping an incapacitated 16-year-old girl resumed on Saturday with two former friends of the accuser testifying that she had a reputation for dishonesty.

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, are charged with sexually assaulting the girl in the early morning of August 12, 2012, when she was too drunk to move or speak.

During testimony Saturday, the defense called Kelsey Weaver and Gianna Anile, two classmates of the accuser who described themselves as her former best friends.

Reuters is not identifying the girl making the accusations.

Weaver, 17, testified the accuser had told her that she liked Mays. Weaver also said she watched the accuser drink four shots of vodka and two beers and flirt with Richmond on the night she says the rape occurred.

Weaver said the accuser told her she thought she had been drugged as well -- a conclusion Weaver said she did not believe. Asked by defense attorneys why she had doubts, Weaver said "because (she) lies about things."

Both Weaver and Anile were with the accuser on the night of the alleged rape. Both testified that they ended their friendship with her as a result of the accusations.

The case drew national attention to the Ohio steel town of Steubenville, on the West Virginia border 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, after a photo and video from the party were posted online appearing to document the assault.

On Friday, Mark Cole, a teammate of Mays and Richmond granted immunity for his testimony, said he recorded a video of Mays performing the act on the girl during a car ride between houses in Steubenville the night of the party, but deleted it the next morning.

Evan Westlake, who was also granted immunity, testified he saw Richmond commit a sex act on the girl on the basement floor of a house the same night last August.

Mays and Richmond are accused of raping the girl while she was incapacitated. She told police she did not remember what happened and reported the incident the next day after hearing details from friends. The boys have denied raping her and say that any sexual contact that occurred was consensual.

Defense attorneys have questioned whether the witnesses in the case remembered details from the party or were just repeating rumors that circulated afterward through their social groups or from investigators looking into the rape allegations.

The juvenile charges against Mays and Redmond are being heard by visiting Judge Tom Lipps. If convicted, they could be required to stay at a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21 and then register as sex offenders.

Testimony in the trial, which began Wednesday, is scheduled to continue into the evening Saturday and resume again on Sunday. The judge said he expects the trial to run into Tuesday.