Steubenville Prosecutor: Girl Too Drunk to Consent

Says football players knew it, 'treated her like a toy'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2013 6:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – The high-profile rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio, got under way today, and prosecutors' strategy looks to be straightforward: They aim to prove that the 16-year-old girl at the center of the case was so drunk that she could not possibly have given consent to the two football players accused of molesting her, reports AP. She is "somebody who was too impaired to say no, somebody who was too impaired to say stop," prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter told the judge in the non-jury trial.

ABC News zeroes in on this line from Hemmeter: "This case will hinge on not only the defendants' knowledge of her substantial impairment but their exploitation of that knowledge when they treated her like a toy." An attorney for Trent Mays, one of the accused teens, asserted in his opening argument that Mays "did not rape the young lady in question." The attorney for the other teen, Ma'lik Richmond, did not make an opening statement, but he told 20/20 in an interview airing later this month that what happened was consensual. And Richmond himself told the show that he didn't rape the girl. "And if I would have thought that somebody was being raped or anything like that, I would have stopped it."

Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday.
Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Lisa DeJong)
Trent Mays, 17, left, watches as 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond talks with his attorney at the defense table.
Trent Mays, 17, left, watches as 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond talks with his attorney at the defense table.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, Pool)
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