Steubenville Rape Trial: Inside the Scandal

Two high school football players are accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
3:00 | 03/14/13

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Transcript for Steubenville Rape Trial: Inside the Scandal
Begin with a story of questionable teenage judgment the -- parents have been losing sleep over since long before the invention of the keg party. But this one has shattered lives and divided an all American town and -- most dramatic and public way. Involves too high school football standouts a sixteen year old girl from across the river copious amounts of alcohol and accusations. Of sexual assault all swirl together. The social media culture -- reputations can go viral in a blink. After -- you of this trial and stupid bill Ohio ABC's Elizabeth Vargas has the latest details. He's a high profile case that his turn this small close knit town of student Ohio. Upside down. And served as a cautionary tale for teenagers living in today's digital world. Gives -- Two high school football standouts are charged with sexually assaulting an intoxicated sixteen year old girl. Over the course of a long night last August. And after six months the cases now in court the question. Was the girl too drunk to consent to sex and prosecutor Marianne -- that are laid out her case. We'll -- our team here and I imagine you have horses of this house -- He's been here. The city. But beyond the court the case has been playing out ferociously. And social media since the night in question. The two defendants Malik Richmond -- -- And -- -- seventeen apparently had already been prosecuted defended and judged in blog posts and YouTube videos. On FaceBook and on Twitter my jobs and stay focused on the -- and not try this case and social media. The only thing that we want to do -- determine what the facts are what truth. -- cellphone photo circulating from the night sparked outraged the two defendants carrying the alleged victim by her arms and laying eggs. She appears unconscious. -- alleged victim doesn't remember what happened -- -- so this picture becomes absolutely crucial. For prosecutors. Were trying to prove. That she was substantially. Impaired. Such that -- couldn't. Consent. The -- Richmond who maintains his innocence. Spoke to a -- an ABC news exclusive the leaks as a sixteen year old girl was a week. And -- willing participant in the photo that was a joke. -- -- After and that was it a fun picture that you took. Woods and after that I didn't think it was fun -- first and donate -- in the moment. Yes it was a joke picture -- -- see you weren't carrying her out now. Walter Madison -- leak Richmond's attorney. The photo is what it is the photo doesn't suggest that a person substantially impair. It just suggests that a person here think that looks like substantial impairment we don't care what it looks like. We know that after the photo was taken she exhibited the ability to make decisions we have witnesses -- -- livable state that are gonna testify that. That photograph was in -- staged. The police lawyers we'll try to make the case that the alleged victim was not incapacitated. And that she was alert enough to remember the past coat on her phone later that night. Even though witnesses say she was stumbling and vomiting so you -- thinking that a girl who keeps repeatedly throwing up. It was pretty drunk no because it's natural. You see that a lot again. At parties. -- -- -- -- You see that -- -- bugging weeks a concert people throwing up because -- much to drink you can see that in England. Throughout the night at several different parties Ohio teenager is needed and texted about the drunk girl. Within a week the two football players were arrested and charged with rape for penetrating her with their fingers and happy new house in -- town devoted to big red football. You knew that people in talent at the top yes this was good news is -- a huge deal there it's too big red football players. Alexandria Goddard is a crime blogger who posted all the messages and all the names of the police involved even those who had not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing. And so I started. Looking at social media I established to -- on the team and started going through names found a Twitter accounts and you know I was up all night but within two hours. I had names and -- basic idea of what was going on that night and it was all on Twitter. The tweets appear to reference a sexual assault one red song of the night is definitely rate meet by Nirvana. Another. Rest in peace to the person that died you went out doing that big -- And even more shocking a cell phone video of a boy laughing about an alleged assault. Is posted online by the group anonymous. Tips. Protesters descended on this small steel town. Wearing masks demanding more boys be arrested and charged. Many those protesters returned today on day two of the trial. Despite their pressure just to football -- stand accused. Several other athletes will take the stand against them. As will be alleged victim herself. Even though she says she has no memory of that night. I didn't rape anybody I didn't win -- -- going on in the final would have. Doug some I was being raped during the -- -- stopped it. The boys are being tried in juvenile court by a judge to trial is expected to last nearly a week. For Nightline I'm Elizabeth Vargas in New York.

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