An Ohio teen accused of Periscoping her friend’s alleged sexual assault has claimed she was actually trying to record evidence by streaming the incident online.
Marina Lonina, indicted by a grand jury for multiple charges including rape, kidnapping, sexual battery and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, appeared in court on Friday and refused to plead guilty.
“She does everything possible to contain the situation, even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these Periscope followers, ‘What should I do now? What should I do now?’” the 18-year-old’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, told the court in the defense swiftly dismissed by a prosecutor.
According to reports, Lonina and her 17-year-old friend, students at New Albany High School outside Columbus, met 29-year-old Raymond Gates at a shopping mall, where he bought the teens vodka and encouraged them to meet him the next day. The trio was drinking at Gates' home the following day when he held down the younger girl and began assaulting her.
Lonina, who reportedly is in a habit of filming everything with Periscope, filmed the entire incident.
Franklin County Prosecutor Dan O’Brien dismissed the defense claims, telling the court that Lonina tried to help only briefly during the 10-minute video, while the victim repeatedly called out “stop” and “no” during the assault.
He said the teen only made claims about recording the rape for evidence after she was arrested.
“She got, I guess, taken up with all the ‘likes’ that her livestream was getting and therefore continued to do it, and did nothing to aid the victim,” O’Brien added, implying the teen’s behavior as people watched the incident via Periscope painted a very different picture.
Lonina, Gates and the unidentified victim are all naturalized U.S. citizens from Russia. The comments in the video are also in Russian.
If found guilty, Lonina and Gates could each face a prison sentence of more than 40 years.