The Steubenville Rape Case: The Story You Haven't Heard


"That doesn't sound like a person that's incapacitated to the point where they cannot answer a question, let alone consent," defense attorney Walter Madison said.

The girl's civil attorney challenges such an assessment, saying, "The mere fact that someone presents an argument doesn't make it true."

The Steubenville rumor mill was already beginning to churn with speculation about what happened to the intoxicated girl. Naked photos of the girl that were circulated that night fueled a series of tweets and also one YouTube video of an 18-year-old former Steubenville baseball player named Michael Nodianos. In the rambling 12-minute rant, Nodianos, who wasn't present during the alleged rapes, made jokes about the incident, repeatedly referring to the victim as "dead."

When the sun finally rose over Steubenville the next morning, the 16-year-old alleged victim woke up naked in a home she had never been to before. Her girlfriends, who spent much of the previous night trying to contact her and anxiously reading tweets posted about her, soon were summoned to pick her up.

ABC News has learned that one of the girls who picked up the alleged victim told police, "She and Trent were just lying on the couch together as if nothing happened. She looked hung over but then she got up and was completely fine."

By the next day, so much had been written and uploaded to social networking sites that the town was abuzz with rumors and innuendo. Even the girl's parents found out by word of mouth.

They brought her to the hospital Aug. 13, more than 24 hours after the incident. By then, she had already showered and her clothes from that night had been washed. No physical evidence of a rape was recovered.

Nevertheless, 10 days after the alleged assault, on the strength of the witness accounts, Ma'lik Richmond and Trent Mays were arrested in the middle of the night and charged with rape and kidnapping (the kidnapping charge was later dropped.) Trent was also charged with disseminating child pornography for texting naked photos of the underage alleged victim.

"They sent three or four police cars," Trent's mom, Linda Mays, told ABC News. "They surrounded the house and it was surreal."

By this time, many of the social media posts and pictures had been deleted. But not all were lost. ABC News has learned that, in addition to the picture of the defendants' carrying the alleged victim, they also recovered two additional photos from Trent's phone. One of the photos shows the alleged victim lying naked and face down on the floor and the other shows her naked on the couch seemingly asleep.

The intersection of idolized athletes, social media over-sharing and reckless teen behavior proved an explosive combination and the story soon went national. In December, the Nodianos video was re-posted by an offshoot of the Internet hacking group Anonymous called Knight Sec.

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