Oh dear god - Steubenville Ohio footballer rape case

(67 Posts)
StuffezLaBouche Sun 17-Mar-13 16:41:03

My heart leapt when I saw they'd been found guilty.
Ten I saw the sentence.
A fucking YEAR!
It's like the whole world conspires against victims of rape...

tribpot Sun 17-Mar-13 16:46:31

The article doesn't explain the reason for the preposterously low sentence. I find it hard to believe the boys' ages were taken into account given this is a country that executed minors for murder until a few years ago.

StuffezLaBouche Sun 17-Mar-13 16:49:26

Is it horribly cynical/misguided of me to say I think a large part of their insane sentencing was down to the fact the girl was drunk and agreed to accompany the boys to the parties?
The original story and subsequent stories that emerged about various community officials trying to hush it all up were appalling.

I assumed that the sentence (which is a minimum of 1 year, they can be held up to the age of 21 so potentially another 3 or 4 on top) was because they are minors.

Tbh I was pleasantly surprised that they were found guilty at all.

kim147 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:54:39

I heard about this last year. What happened to her and all the filming / photos etc was awful and the reaction of the community disturbing.

StuffezLaBouche Sun 17-Mar-13 16:57:49

I can't get my head around the age thing and this has really got to me. Surely any man entering you against your will is enough to earn a significantly long sentence?? That boys wanted to hurt, humiliate and violate that girl, and it seems they've managed to do exactly that with very little come-back

Darkesteyes Sun 17-Mar-13 17:00:12

A fucking year. Is that all?? I would like to see the fuckers who covered for them in court as well and any bastards who filmed and distributed it.

Goodadvice1980 Sun 17-Mar-13 17:56:23

I can't even begin to imagine how the victim will ever get over such an horrific ordeal.


StuffezLaBouche Sun 17-Mar-13 18:08:56

Love how the article says in court the men's remorse was "overwhelming." No, they were crying because it had finally struck home that actions have consequences.
Also, trust the fucking Mail to reprint one of the photos of the ordeal, albeit pixelated.

dinkystinky Sun 17-Mar-13 18:14:08

That is appalling and truly chilling.

There's an interesting report in the Guardian, apparently the judge wants to convene a grand jury to ascertain whether charges can be brought against other individuals.

Link here

The woman's comments in the last paragraph are quite depressing though.

bigkidsdidit Sun 17-Mar-13 18:28:30

I was plesaed and surprised they'd been found guilty, I'd assumed the low sentences were becauseo f their age but I'd forgotten America executes minors. Could it be lower because they were found guilty of digital penetration rather than with a penis? (not that this is necessarily right, I just don't understand why so low)

AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Sun 17-Mar-13 18:42:24

It is interesting that the judge sat alone, and not with a jury.

When I was a young law student I believed that the jury system was the cornerstone of justice. That it was unquestionably the right way of doing things.

The older I get, the more I realise how many prejudices people bring into the jury room. I doubt that conviction would have occurred with a jury of the small town peers based on some of those reports about the culture in the town.

It divides me, it really does.

TheCrackFox Sun 17-Mar-13 18:51:57

It is good that they were found guilty but the sentences passed were pathetic.

Agreed that the guilty part were tears of self pity and not genuine remorse.

Greythorne Sun 17-Mar-13 19:09:44

I am shocked by the sentencing. But, I am actually relieved that they were found guilty at all, as I feared they would walk away Scot free.

Yes, I have very low expectations of the legal system viz rape. Sadly.

znaika Sun 17-Mar-13 19:43:31

Can someone tell me was she just drunk, or maybe drugged? I thought from before, I read somewhere that there was a date rape drug involved. She looks in that terrible photo, past drunkeness, and also seems to have no recollection. Would administering a drug be another crime on top?

I agree a year is such a shocking sentence

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 18-Mar-13 01:51:47

A year sad angry

FairPhyllis Mon 18-Mar-13 02:35:59

First of all - the reporting is off on this, and secondly the juvenile justice system in the US is significantly different from that of the UK, where anyone over the age of criminal responsibility (10) is tried in a normal court.

In most states, you are tried in a juvenile court up to the age of 18 (the age does vary a bit). Sometimes if the case is serious enough it can be heard in an adult criminal court, but that did not happen in this case - it was in a juvenile court (hence no jury). In juvenile courts, the proceedings are civil, not criminal, but the court can have broad powers over the offender if they are found delinquent (guilty). So the sentencing guidelines are different because it is not an adult criminal court - rape is a category 1 felony in adult court, but is a lower category offence in a juvenile court. And the sentence was not one year, it was one year and two years minimum, maximum until they are both 21 - which is what they will probably get. That decision is up to the state youth justice service. And it looks as though further charges may be brought against more people.

I do wonder whether the State went for a non-jury trial in a juvenile court on the basis they were more likely to get a conviction than with a jury trial in the adult system.

sashh Mon 18-Mar-13 04:55:58

They have not been sentenced yet, 1 year is the minimum they have to serve.

A panel will set the term at a later date.

notimefors Mon 18-Mar-13 06:13:57

I think that it is great news they were found guilty.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 18-Mar-13 06:42:23

It also shows the power of social media for good.
From the BBC website :

'The case was thrust into the national spotlight after attention by bloggers and the hacker activist group Anonymous.

Some claimed that the community - including local police - had sought to cover up the crime to protect the accused, who were members of a celebrated high school American football team'

Without that, they could well have got off scot-free as the case was tried in Steubenville. Incidents like this must have been swept under the carpet for years in so many towns.

FairPhyllis Mon 18-Mar-13 07:05:43

The trial took place in the county, but it was not a jury trial, and the prosecutors and judge were not local. The local ones recused themselves and a very experienced judge and prosecutors from out of town were brought in. I think these things were probably key to securing a conviction, and I am very relieved they were found guilty.

dummad Mon 18-Mar-13 07:11:19

Awful. Plus the town is 'divided' meaning some obviously think she 'asked for it' actually going to a party and getting drunk. That poor girl. And in my view the article attempts to buy sympathy for the accused by leading with the fact they were crying in court.

FairPhyllis Mon 18-Mar-13 07:24:09

It's the BBC - what do you expect?

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 18-Mar-13 07:28:14

I took the crying in court to be pity for themselves rather than any sign of remorse.
I approve of the way that the net has made it more difficult to keep certain things 'in house'

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 18-Mar-13 07:29:57

Literally just stumbled across the article. Am shocked.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 18-Mar-13 07:35:24

I absolutely don't buy the crap about them being remorseful.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 18-Mar-13 10:36:45

Thanks for the extra info, Phyllis.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 18-Mar-13 12:20:22

What is even more disturbing is, that it appears the US media have largely been leading with 'oh no, these poor boys, this verdict has ruined their promising lives' kind of way, with no mention of their victim and how her life has been affected.

See this report about CNN's coverage

What makes it even more alarming, is in CNN's case, these are female journalists.

I've already tweeted the two women involved (Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow) to point out that it isn't the verdict that has ruined Mays and Richmond's "promising" lives, they ruined their "promising" lives by choosing to rape.

lisianthus Mon 18-Mar-13 13:11:21

The articles do seem to be set up to garner sympathy for the rapists, which is appalling. The other thing that I found awful was that they reported (as if it was a good thing showing decency on the rapist's part!) that one of them apologised to the victim's parents. Never mind apologising to the victim. She's just a "drunken girl" who presumably asked for it. No, its her parents who have really suffered here.

AbigailAdams Mon 18-Mar-13 13:53:47

I believe the victim's name has been outed on Twitter too.

AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Mon 18-Mar-13 14:02:35

I agree with the comments on the apology stuff. Didn't the father of one of those convicted say he was proud of him for apologising. Yes, I'd be dead proud too if that was my son. hmm (Lisianthus - understandably, the victim wasn't in court to be apologised to. Not, obviously, that such an apology means anything, but I think that's why it was directed at the parents, who were present).

Freedom - that article is horrid. "Labelled" as sex offenders? No, they are sex offenders.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 18-Mar-13 16:10:24

Abigail - oh no, I hadn't seen that her name was outed on Twitter, I've just between tweeting (as have many, many others) #ISupportJaneDoe. The former shows the worst side of social media.

Amanda - the most terrifying thing is, if you look at any US media site (whether it be a TV station like CNN or even a "trashy" gossip magazine like People), there are regular Americans saying the same thing.

I saw one woman say, "I'm going to raise my four daughters not to go out and get drunk, and to be always be in control of their situation, so they don't allow themselves to get raped." I don't know what worries me more. The fact she thinks if she raises her daughters to not get drunk and be "in control", they'll magically become less likely to rape, or that she thinks that any rape victim allows it to happen.

Many of the comments I've seen, have made my heart sink (and some comments are from UK residents, especially on UK sites like the Hate Mail), and have made me realise just how much work there is still to do (to change rape attitudes). It made me want to cry.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 18-Mar-13 16:12:32

Towards the end of the third paragraph, that should read... they'll magically become less like to be raped. I reworded it a few times and the final time, I deleted some of a rewording, but forgot to change it to read what I wanted it to say.

Curse MN and it's lack of being able to edit!

AmandaPayneNeedsaHoliday Mon 18-Mar-13 17:04:04

God, that is horrifying.

I will try to teach my daughters not to go out and get totally and utterly plastered to the point they cannot remember the night. But that is because it makes them vulnerable to all sorts of things - I have no illusions that it will protect them against rape. And if I had sons, I would be trying to teach them the exact same lessons on behaviour.

Rape myths are just so prevalent aren't they. This woman wasn't assaulted because she was drunk. She was assaulted because the people she was with chose to commit a sexual assault. And that woman who thinks she can 'protect' her daughters against rape by teaching them not to drink. She'd statistically be doing more to reduce their odds by teaching them to spot red flags in a relationship.

I am still trying to work out what I think about the law classifying digital penetration as rape and whether I think we should have those rules.

Darkesteyes Mon 18-Mar-13 17:06:20

What a lot of these unsupportive mysogynist victim blaming parents (like the lady with 4 daughters mentioned above) need to remember is that in our society because of the way our society is structured, it is more likely to be a daughter rather than a son who will be choosing your nursing home.
So perhaps these "parents" need to stop and think before treating their daughters so appallingly and with such mysogynistic attitudes.

AlistairSim Mon 18-Mar-13 17:29:10

I am so pleased (and surprised) they have been found guilty but utterly horrified and depressed at the disgusting attitude towards rape.

They are remorseful, of course they are!
They are beyond sorry they got caught.

FairPhyllis Mon 18-Mar-13 18:32:15

I agree they are only sorry they got caught.

CNN's reporting has been disgusting. Apparently they actually had a headline saying 'Realizing rape is a crime'. FFS. The NYT, which broke the story nationally and the Atlantic Wire have had pretty decent reporting on this. Here is a pretty good article about what happens next in terms of who can potentially also be charged.

The comments on those sites are also better.

It is also reassuring to see that the Ohio Attorney General knows where it's at: he's made some very sensible statements which clearly identify and attack rape culture. I think he is going to go after everyone he possibly can.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 18-Mar-13 20:12:37

It's good to see better coverage on the Steubenville case in the links above.

There is talk that this could be a watershed moment in how rape is treated, especially when they "hero" footballers are involved, but the attitudes of the media and many Americans, shows how much work there is to do.

I spoke to my American relative today - the one who was raped by a "star" footballer on her college (university) football team - and none of the reaction has put her off carrying forward with her criminal complaint. She knows that if and when it gets to court, she'll probably experience a similar response in the (local) press and from the wider public, but she is prepared for that.

It is disgraceful though, that women have to prepare themselves to be 'slaughtered' in the press, just because they've dared to proceed with their complains against these "star" athletes in schools and colleges.

FreedomOfTheTess Mon 18-Mar-13 21:04:26

I am sickened beyond words...


The third paragraph contains this phrase: I don't believe for one second that "rape" exists.

WARNING: Reading this blog entry will make you want to track down who this man really is, get a flight to where he lives and hit him. And I don't usually advocate violence of any sort, but having read this, that's how I felt.

NB: On his Twitter (@Michael_Crook for anyone interested) he says he's from upstate New York.

Going to try and calm myself down now.

kim147 Tue 19-Mar-13 07:44:46


TheNebulousBoojum Tue 19-Mar-13 08:07:26
NicholasTeakozy Tue 19-Mar-13 12:16:07

Henry Rollins wrote the following on Sunday:-

"For the last couple of hours, I have been thinking of the verdict that was reached in what is now known as the Steubenville rape case.

Since all involved are minors, I won’t use anyone’s name. Two juvenile males were found delinquent of the charges and will be, as far as I understand, incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility until they are twenty-one years of age.

There is, I guess, cell phone generated video content of parts of the crime. It went “viral” on the internet and brought attention to the events.

I got through a few minutes of it but was too disgusted to watch the rest.

The case, the verdict and the surrounding circumstances open up a huge conversation.

These are a few of the things that I have been thinking about.

After reading several posts online, I was not surprised at the vast range of sentiments expressed. Many of the postings were of outrage that the two found delinquent were not tried as adults so they would face much longer sentences. You might not know, but in some states, this sentence would be decades long. Many of the posts spoke of the damage done to the victim and the life she will have now. One person suggested caning the two young men. Many others were angered at the deification of high school football players and how they often receive special treatment. You can read this stuff all day if you want.

After reading posts for quite awhile, I thought first about the two young men. I wondered if the years in the facility will “help” them. What, exactly does one “learn” in one of these places? That is to say, after five years locked away, does the idea of assaulting a woman seem like the wrong thing to do, more than if you were incarcerated for one year? Would you be “more sorry” about what you did? Is that possible? Or, would you just be more sorry for yourself about where your actions landed you? At what point do you get “better”, how many years in one of these places does that take?

What made these young people think that that what they did was ok? What was in their upbringing, the information and morals instilled in them that allowed them to do what they did, minute after minute, laughing, joking, documenting it and then calling it a night and going home? Out of all the people who were witness to what happened, why wasn’t there someone putting a stop to it?

What I am attempting to get at, and I apologize if I am not being clear enough is that this is a failure on many levels. Parents, teachers, coaches, peers all come into play here. I am not trying to diffuse blame or lessen the awfulness of what happened but I want to address the complexity of the cause in an effort to assess the effect so it can be prevented.

Some might say that the two going to the youth facility are as much victims as the young women who was assaulted. I do not agree. The two are offenders. What they did was obviously wrong. That being said, we cannot end the discussion at that point and expect things to change.

I have yet to say anything about the damage done to the young woman involved. It is ironic and sad that the person who is going to do a life sentence is her.

As a testament to the horrific power of sexual assault, I encourage you to see, yet cannot recommend the documentary The Invisible War about sexual assault in the military. http://invisiblewarmovie.com/. The reason I say that I cannot recommend it is that it is so well done, so clear and devastating that it will put you through quite a wringer. I do hope you see it but damn, it’s hard. In the interviews with women who have been assaulted by fellow members, the damage that has been done to these good people is monumental.

Many people are angry that more time was not given to the offenders. This seems to be the prevailing sentiment. I understand the anger but don’t know if adding a decade onto their sentences would be of any benefit. To me, the problem that needs to be addressed is where in the information chain were the two offenders made to understand that what they did was not wrong on every possible level? You can execute them both tomorrow but still, there is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

It’s a situation where you would like to be able to point a finger and say, that’s the reason and be done. You have to be careful when you do this because it’s easy to miss.

I think to a great degree, we humans still divide ourselves into two species, even though we are monotypic. There are males and females. We see them as different and not equal. Things get better when women get more equality. That is a bit obvious but I think it leads to better results up the road. If it’s a man’s world as they say, then men, your world is a poorly run carnage fest.

It is obvious that the two offenders saw the victim as some one that could be treated as a thing. This is not about sex, it is about power and control. I guess that is what I am getting at. Sex was probably not the hardest thing for the two to get, so that wasn’t the objective. When you hear the jokes being made during the crime, it is the purest contempt.

So, how do you fix that? I’m just shooting rubber bands at the night sky but here are a few ideas: Put women’s studies in high school the curriculum from war heroes to politicians, writers, speakers, activists, revolutionaries and let young people understand that women have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages and they are worthy of respect.

Total sex ed in school. Learn how it all works. Learn what the definition of statutory rape is and that it is rape, that date rape is rape, that rape is rape.

In the spirit of equal time, sites like Huffington Post should have sections for male anatomy hanging out instead of just the idiotic celebrity “side boob” and “nip slip” camera ops. I have no idea what that would be like to have a camera in my face at every turn, looking for “the” shot. I know what some of you are saying. “Then why do they wear clothes like that unless they want those photos taken?” I don’t know what to tell ya. Perhaps just don’t take the fuckin picture? Evolve? I don’t know.

Education, truth, respect, equality—these are the things that can get you from a to b very efficiently.

It must be an awful time for the parents of all three of these people and their relatives and I hope they all get to a better place soon.

What else? That’s all I’ve got. Thanks for reading this. Henry"

I've read it a couple of times, and think he, a punk rock vocalist, has put it better than the experts employed by the likes of CNN, MSNBC, Fox et al. This sentence Education, truth, respect, equality—these are the things that can get you from a to b very efficiently. sums up a viable solution and demonstrates that feminism still has miles to go to educate our young men to not rape.

Also, he's right that rape isn't about sex; it's about power, control, humiliation and fear.

PretzelTime Tue 19-Mar-13 13:34:32

A group of teenage boys have done something completely inhumane, why are people talking about girls drinking? I mean I know we've got patriarchy and stuff but I don't understand people.

Can someone explain why a victim stops being a victim if she had been drinking?

I don't see any logic in that, a group of guys attacking someone who is even more defenseless because they're drunk should make their punishment more severe, right? Because they cowardly attacked someone who were even less capable of defending themselves than usual.

And drinking is what you often do at parties.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 19-Mar-13 13:40:47

Thanks for that blogpost, NT.

wrongsideoftheroad Tue 19-Mar-13 13:46:58

"A group of teenage boys have done something completely inhumane, why are people talking about girls drinking?"

^ this. A hundred times this ^

MrSlant Tue 19-Mar-13 13:59:44

Wow NT, what a fantastic, thought provoking piece, I've always had a lot of respect for Henry Rollins but now I think he should be president!

PretzelTime Tue 19-Mar-13 13:59:44

My questions are actually sincere, I can't understand this type of reaction at all.

If the girl is to blame for being drunk and near boys - like a tourist is to blame for getting to close to wild lions and eaten - then it's like saying that we should see all boys like wild violent beasts who are dangerous to humans.
Yet the boys should be given sympathy? And no punishment? Lions who eat humans are shot. Does this make teenage boys evil aggressive beasts AND poor little innocents at the same time in those people's minds, how does that work?

mungotracy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:05:40

As Sassh points out Sentencing is not actually complete.....before people start being righteous.... lets wait and see before the usual baying mob starts..... They were found guilty that is a win.

The jury was probably excluded because due to the internet.... it was no longer possible to find unaffected jurors rendering them all ineligible.....blame social media for that. Its a two sided coin and can severely damage the chances of a conviction happening. Anonymous is not a fit group to comment on any issue and their actions could well have undermined the entire case.

Its always tricky in the states as the law differs in each state and sometimes by county as well.....its a federal system. Unless we have an expert on Ohio procedure.... We will have to wait a while to get the full result.

mungotracy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:08:47


"Yet the boys should be given sympathy? And no punishment? "

I cant find anyone with that reaction at all....please link the post.

MiniTheMinx Tue 19-Mar-13 15:00:42

Thank you NicholasTeakozy

I agree with some of the posts saying that the young men didn't feel remorse only sorry for being found guilty.

"One of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, as that sentence came down, he collapsed,” the CNN reporter recalled, adding that the convicted rapist told his attorney that “my life is over, no one is going to want me now.”

to the end thinking about themselves.

However it is society that teaches these young men their values, it is media that portrays women as toys and teaches young women not to aspire to be anything else. It is society that peddles the idea that there are good women and there are women who deserve to be raped. Pornography shapes these young men's sexuality and tells them that women say no when they really mean yes. And at the centre of all this, hundreds of years of socialisation that tells men that women who drink, women who dress in a certain way, women who are poor, women who are not their daughters or wives, who behave in anyway unlike the virgin mary are to be despised, should be held in utter contempt. It is these women that men should take out their anger on because they feel unequal to other men. These young men are the foot soldiers to the patriarchy, they too are victims in this war to maintain class hierarchies and white male privilege over all of us. Its no different to sending working class young men into Afghanistan to have their legs blown off. Its all done to maintain social power over other men. We women the victims in all this.......well we were never that important anyway sad

slug Tue 19-Mar-13 15:33:10

mungotracy there was no jury because the boys were tried as juveniles.

mungotracy Tue 19-Mar-13 15:38:17

Slug thats cool if thats the case. Not all US states remove juries from juvenille trials unlike in the UK....

Nor does it render moot that no unbiased jury could have been appointed in any case due too social media.

notimefors Tue 19-Mar-13 16:35:12

Has anyone linked the Laurie Penny New Statesman article yet?

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Tue 19-Mar-13 17:11:23

That CNN clip made me very angry,with all this talk of the lasting effect on the rapists,WHAT ABOUT THE LASTING EFFECTS ON THE VICTIM?!!angry

FastidiaBlueberry Tue 19-Mar-13 21:47:17

That Michael Crook bloke is clearly a very dangerous man to women.

It's one thing to say you don't believe that someone was raped.

It's quite another thing to say that rape doesn't actually exist as a concept.

Most rape apologists do acknowledge that it exists and believe themselves to be disapproving of it.

Not this one...

FastidiaBlueberry Tue 19-Mar-13 21:55:46

That Laurie Penny article is really good.

There is a petition demanding that CNN apologises. It has over 200,000 signatures http://www.change.org/petitions/cnn-apologize-for-your-disgusting-coverage-of-the-steubenville-rapists

I found the link through this article http://sourcefednews.com/cnn-reporter-labeled-rape-apologist-after-steubenville-update/

The petition is not just to demand an apology but also to, ‘devote an hour long, prime time segment to rape, it’s victims, what can be done to prevent it, and how to change the culture that gives rise to this violent crime.’

TeiTetua Wed 20-Mar-13 00:24:54

If you want to feel worse about this business, "Two teenage girls were arrested in Ohio on Monday and accused of using social media to threaten the young victim in a high-profile rape trial that concluded this past weekend". What would persuade girls to do this to another girl?


The society they are living in...

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Wed 20-Mar-13 07:01:50

This case reminds me of the Listowel case a few years back,where a girl was sexually assaulted by a local man and people lined up to shake his hand in court. She was shunned by local people too.

NicholasTeakozy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:19:09

The blogger who helped the investigation and got threatened, sued, and lost her best friend. Well played to her.

Hattifattner Wed 20-Mar-13 14:46:40

superb article comparing steubenville photos to Abu Ghraib...very thought provoking

TeiTetua Wed 20-Mar-13 16:02:30

I would very much like to hear--maybe it's going to be possible now the trial is over--what people who defended the perpetrators here have to say about their own role. Like those two girls who are themselves in trouble for threatening the victim, or like the blogger's former best friend. I'd like to hear them give an explanation for their attitude; in a way those people are more interesting than the rapists, because their motivation is so murky. "You've done your best to punish the people who've called for the crime to be punished--why? What do you really want to see punished and what should be praised? And the treatment of crime is a public matter--do you want what you've done to be made public?"

Laci Green has made a vlog about the case, very good video (I don't know how to make links active sorry) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z86oaQ4aLcM

NicholasTeakozy Thu 21-Mar-13 07:28:09

SingingSilver's Link is a great take from a young woman blowing myths out of the water.

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