Steubenville, OH Football Players Found Guilty of Rape, But Get One Year in Juvie
Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond are names that should live in infamy.
And, like athiests in foxholes, they should perhaps realize just how lucky they are to have gotten only one year in Juvie, rather than having to be in there until their 21st birthday, as they could easily have had too. They will, however, have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
The Judge was from Cincinnati, almost 300 miles from Steubenville, having been brought in by the state Attorney General’s office because of conflict of interest in town, so he didn’t have first hand knowledge of how football players at Steubenville High School are worshipped as if they were God. But it is dismaying that the sentence is pretty light, if you ask me, considering their shocking attitude about it:
Rape, experts say, is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying all of that is arrogance, and in Steubenville it was taken to the extreme.
Throughout this trial, the two defendants and a parade of friends who wound up mostly testifying against the defendants, expressed little understanding of rape – let alone common decency or respect for women. Despite the conviction, the defendants likely don’t view themselves as rapists, at least not the classic sense of a man hiding in the shadows.
“It wasn’t violent,” explained teammate Evan Westlake when asked why he didn’t stop the two defendants as they abused a non-moving girl that Westlake knew to be highly intoxicated. “I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.”
That was part of the arrogance.
Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture.
Arrogance based on the fact that this night, witnesses testified over and over, wasn’t strikingly different than any other night in the life of a Big Red football player.
The boys drank. They drove around. They went to each other’s houses until 2, 3, 4 in the morning. They exploited permissive parents who let the party continue. They, according to so many locals, knew there were bars that would serve them, liquor stores that would supply them and adults who would look the other way. They were football players being football players.
They slept wherever and whenever they crashed, preferably with some girl. Any girl.
They were allowed the freedoms of young adults, yet lacked the maturity to handle that freedom.
“The entitlement we heard during testimony, it didn’t seem like any empathy or support for the victim,” said Katie Hanna, statewide director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. “To see these things happen and to say, ‘I don’t recall; I didn’t think it was a bad thing; I just thought this was OK.’ It suggests that this was commonplace behavior.”
And then there is the incident itself, part of which is described here:
Earlier in the night, the girl sat in the middle of the street in front of one of the player’s homes, leaning over slightly and puking. She was a mess, in need of significant help. One of the boys – no one recalls who exactly – took her shirt off so she wouldn’t stain it, but then left her sitting there in just shorts and a bra.
Soon, a group of the teenagers were laughing at the girl and her sorry state. One kid, Patrick Pizzoferrato, pulled out $3 and said he’d give it to anyone who urinated on her.
“I made it as a joke,” Pizzoferrato testified. “… I don’t think anyone thought I was serious when I said that.”
It stands to reason that Pizzoferrato was being truthful. No one took him up on it. After a night of partying, surrounded by friends, never assuming that whatever he said would wind up in the center of a closely followed criminal proceeding, Pizzoferrato was making a crude and immature joke. He’s a high school kid. They aren’t known for tact.
Yet along with the joke came nothing else. No one thought to get the girl real help, to call her friends, to take her home, to assure she was safe and watched. She was just another drunk chick to be mocked, scooped up and used.
Within minutes, Mays was fondling her in the backseat of a crowded car while his buddy Cole filmed the act on his cell phone.
Arrogance? Arrogance is looking at a girl in desperate need of help, looking at a friend who was committing an obvious felony and deciding what the moment called for was an impromptu porn shoot.