Does Silence Equal Consent? Ohio Football Players Accused of Raping Drunk Teen Argue the Girl Didn’t ‘Say No’

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Defense lawyers for two Steubenville, Oh., football players charged with raping an unconscious girl while she was intoxicated are expected to argue the sex was consensual. Attorney Walter Madison who represents the two accused teens was quoted in the Cleveland Trader saying, “There’s an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices.”

“She didn’t affirmatively say no,” Madison added.

Prosecution claims the girl was unconscious when she was assaulted. They argue that the teen girl was so drunk that she was unable to stand, being taken to a number of parties by a group of drunk teens who had to essentially carry her from place to place. Multiple witness have also claimed the girl was too drunk to have given consent.

“The state doesn't have to prove that she was flat-lined,” said Ohio Associate Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter in an October hearing. “Everybody agrees she's puking. She's puking on herself. People have to help her walk. She can't talk. She's stumbling.”

The accused, Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, will stand before a jury on Wednesday. The victim is not expected to testify in Jefferson County juvenile court.

“The person who is the accuser here is silent just as she was that night, and that's because there was consent,” Madison said.

Steubenville, a city of 18,000 people, is a football-centric community, celebrating the high school's Big Red team. Many believed the football players would never be brought to justice and that the rape of the girl from Weirton, West Virgina, would be covered up.

Now some demand to know why three other teens aren't brought up on charges for taking a video and a photo of the incident, rather than helping the girl or reporting the crime. Two of the boys were on the football team.

Some are calling for the minimum charge of failure to report a crime, which would carry a $250 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

“Anyone that they can show had firsthand knowledge and was partly in some way responsible for the event, the rape, they should be charged,” president of the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for Women Jackie Hillyer said.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office believes the behavior of those three “did not rise to the level of criminal conduct.”

A longtime Steubenville resident Willa Wade said, “I feel personally that if they were there, they knew it had happened, they did not report it or stop it, then they ought to be brought up on the same charges as anybody else.”

Source: Daily Mail