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Ohio rape case: teens found guilty, face year-plus in jail (+video)

Two high school football players were found guilty Sunday of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl in a case that bitterly divided Steubenville, Ohio, and led to accusations of a cover-up to protect the community's athletes.

By Andrew Welsh-HugginsAssociated Press / March 17, 2013

Trent Mays is hugged by one of his lawyers after closing arguments were made on the fourth day of the juvenile trial for he and co-defendant Ma'lik Richmond on rape charges in juvenile court on Saturday in Steubenville, Ohio. Mays and Richmond were accused of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August, 2012. On Sunday, Judge Thomas Lipps found both boys guilty.

Keith Srakocic/AP

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STEUBENVILLE, Ohio

Two members of the high school football team that is the pride of Steubenville were found guilty Sunday of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl in a case that bitterly divided the Rust Belt city and led to accusations of a cover-up to protect the community's athletes.

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Steubenville High School students Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile jail, capping a case that came to light via a barrage of morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video. Mays was sentenced to an additional year in jail on a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, to be served after his rape sentence is completed.

The two teens broke down in tears after the verdict was read and later apologized to the victim and to the community. Both were emotional as they spoke, and Richmond struggled at times to talk through his sobs.

The case roiled the community amid allegations that more students should have been charged and led to questions about the influence of the local football team, a source of a pride in a community of 18,000 that suffered massive job losses with the collapse of the steel industry. Their arms linked, protesters stood outside the courthouse Sunday morning awaiting the verdict, some wearing masks.

The trial opened last week as a contest between prosecutors determined to show the girl was so drunk she couldn't have been a willing participant that night, and defense attorneys soliciting testimony from witnesses that would indicate that the girl, though drunk, knew what she was doing.

The teenage girl testified Saturday that she could not recall what happened the night of the attack but remembered waking up naked in a strange house after drinking at a party. The girl said she recalled drinking, leaving the party holding hands with Mays and throwing up later. When she woke up, she said she discovered her phone, earrings, shoes, and underwear were missing, she testified.

"It was really scary," she said. "I honestly did not know what to think because I could not remember anything."

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