Fallout from the Steubenville Rape Conviction...for everyone

The verdict is in regarding the case of the two Steubenville, Ohio, rape case against two boys accused of raping a 16 year old girl. It's juvenile court so their sentences will be 1 year for one of the boys and 2 for the other, the difference being that one of the boys published a video of the offense. They will be in a juvenile facility, not regular prison.

Once they've served their sentences, both will have to register as sexual offenders wherever they go in the U.S. for the rest of their lives or face more prison time. Both were local football stars and good students. Now their futures are in a shambles. No, I don't feel sorry for them. They made their choice, and given the evidence of their values, they probably would have done some pretty shitty stuff at some time in their lives even had they not done this.

Other people took photos and videos of the situation as well. What's the significance of that? The Attorney General of Ohio has announced that this case isn't over. It's now known who was present and others may have participated to one degree or other. Also, not one kid present attempted to intervene, to call 911, or even to call an adult. It may be that some of them will have to stand trial as well.

Most of us here are no longer minors, but there's a lesson for us as well from the fact that so much of this case hung on evidence in social media and on the cell phones of those present (pictures, videos). The day when so many crimes came down to "he said, she said" or conflicting testimony are receding into the rear view mirror. 

It started with security video, then police dash cam video, but now cameras are everywhere. Almost everyone has a camera in their pocket, their purse, or on their belt. When someone does something bad, the chance it'll be caught on camera increases daily.

Tags: Steubenville, case, media, rape, social

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If they're likely to reoffend (like pedophiles) then registering as sex offenders for the rest of their lives makes sense. If not, maybe not. After all, they were subjected to a very public trial and the videos of the trial and of the rape itself are now out there for anyone to see. I'm not sure what the registering as a sex offender bit accomplishes in addition to that.

If you watched CNN, then perhaps you also heard the statement the girl's mother made in court. Ignoring the religious reference, it's very intelligent and eloquent. She doesn't take the view that her daughter's life is ruined:

“It did not matter what school you went to, what city you lived in, or what sport you’ve played," the victim's mother said. "Human compassion is not taught by a teacher, a coach or a parent.  It is a God-given gift instilled in all of us. You displayed not only a lack of this compassion but a lack of any moral code."

"Your decisions that night affected countless lives including those most dear to you," the victim's mother continued. "You were your own accuser through the social media that you chose to publish your criminal conduct on.

"This does not define who my daughter is,” the mother said. Emotion then briefly rippled through her voice. “She will perservere, grow, and move on.

"I have pity for you both. I hope you fear the Lord, repent for your actions, and pray hard for his forgiveness.”

Also of interest is the Ohio Attorney General's statement after the trial. He made it clear this isn't over. Every single teen at that party could end up with a criminal record for not reporting the crime (Ohio has a law requiring people to report felonies), for cheering the rapists on, for taking pictures of an underage girl (yeah, kiddie porn), and for erasing evidence they may have had on their phones (text messages, photos, videos), which is destruction of evidence. Other kids have refused to talk to police, which is obstruction of justice.

Some kids who just went out to drink and party that night are in for a very rough ride.

Two comments on this:

1: Refusing to talk to the police is not a crime, and is in fact, advisable, no matter what the circumstances. The mantra in pretty much any situation where the police want to talk to you regarding any crime whatsoever, even if you are not a suspect, is: "I'm sorry, but I am not going to make any statements or answer any questions without the presence of an attorney."  This video explains it very well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc Additionally, it is illegal for police to interrogate a minor without the parents or legal guardian present.

2: The kids who "just" went out to drink and party that night were all putting themselves in a situation where bad things could happen to them. All of them were drinking underage, and presumably, some of them were planning on driving home afterwards. Even as an adult, if you go out somewhere with the specific intent of consuming alcohol to the point of intoxication, then you are deliberately putting yourself in a situation where you will lose your ability to control yourself and your immediate environment. I'm sorry, but anyone who willingly drinks themselves into oblivion receives little to no sympathy from me if something bad happens to them.

Nothing excuses what the two boys did, but I have to ask myself if the girl had not been drunk to the point of memory impairment, would she have been in a better position to fight off sexual advances?  Would the boys have even tried anything with her had she been sober?  Would the boys have tried anything with any girl had *they* been sober?  Why is the girl not being charged with consumption of alcohol by a minor, when by her own testimony, she was too drunk to remember what happened?

To be clear, the girl did not "deserve" what happened to her, but she does bear some personal responsibility for willingly consuming so much alcohol that she could no longer control herself or maintain situational awareness.  The boys did get what they deserved, with the exception of the sex offender registration.  As for the other kids at that party, none of them are innocent.  I don't want their lives to be ruined, but they do need to serve as examples to other teenagers.

I don't know that attorneys were not present when they refused to cooperate nor that their parents were not present. You seem to be concocting a situation that might not have existed at all. 

A necessary component for conviction of most if not all felonies is mens rea (literally "guilty mind" or in more everyday terms, "evil intent"). I think we can agree that many of the kids showed up at that party with no intention of doing anything evil. However, when the got there they were presented with a situation way beyond anything they expected. I also know as a parent that kids in that age bracket are almost hardwired not to "rat out" their friends.

As for placing some of the responsibility on the girl, I think I'll just sit back and contemplate what befalls you next.

I don't know that attorneys were not present when they refused to cooperate nor that their parents were not present. You seem to be concocting a situation that might not have existed at all.

I have no idea if they were or weren't.  I just know that refusing to talk to the police does not equal obstruction of justice.

As for placing some of the responsibility on the girl, I think I'll just sit back and contemplate what befalls you next.

Yeah, I know. I debated about even bringing it up.  I will reiterate that under no circumstances did she deserve to be sexually assaulted.  My only point was that had she been sober, she would have been in a better position to defend herself, call for help, and if all that failed, at least remember what happened.

She's not responsible for being sexually assaulted.  She's responsible for being so drunk that she was unable to even attempt to defend herself from being sexually assaulted.

Hope that clears up any confusion so I'm not crucified on the altar of "she had it coming."  Nothing could be further from the truth.

She's not responsible for being sexually assaulted.  She's responsible for being so drunk that she was unable to even attempt to defend herself from being sexually assaulted.

"Blaming the victim" is an accusation you'll have to endure from the women. From me, I need to remind you that she is still a child under the law.

And from me, I say we need to stop thinking in absolutes and always heaping all fault on a single party for the sake of being PC. She was a dumbass. We all think it, but no one likes to point it out because there is always someone to jump in and be disingenuous enough to poison the well with the good old "are you saying she was asking for it?!" No she wasn't. She didn't have big neon lights around her neck that said "rape me." But she had a big one that said "I'm too drunk to say no" and that is her fault. Minor under the law or not, those are just arbitrary lines in the sand. She obviously thought she's old enough to pass out drunk.

But isn't being a dumbass part of being a teen? When I think of stupid things I did as a teen and the time I spent hugging a toilet in a room that was spinning like a carousel, I understand why we have the concept of being a "minor" or "underage."

Heck, the actuaries have told the car rental companies not to rent cars to anyone under 26! So, for that purpose you may not be considered an adult until your mid-20's!

But isn't being a dumbass part of being a teen? When I think of stupid things I did as a teen and the time I spent hugging a toilet in a room that was spinning like a carousel, I understand why we have the concept of being a "minor" or "underage."

That's also why there are usually laws regarding minors and alcohol, but it seems nobody cares about that now.

If we can say that being a dumbass was OK and normal for a teen, and by that excuse let slide the fact that she violated the law and got drunk to the point of blacking out, then isn't it a double-standard to prosecute the boys? They were teenage dumbasses too. We could say what they did was just part of being a teen.

Shouldn't we at some point draw a line between little children and teenagers? What they did wasn't exactly coming home with dirty clothes, and they're not little 5yo oblivious boys and girls anymore. If you want to get drunk and blackout like an adult, you should be treated like one. Same goes for the boys.

Of course these laws are just arbitrary lines (some teenage girls look like they're pro-porn actresses, but technically they're "kids," so you're not allowed to pop a boner). But if a society is anal enough to have them, they should at least be enforced for integrity's sake.

I don't disagree on enforcing laws, but the reason we have a juvenile court system is so dumbass things don't necessarily follow us from our teens to the end of our life. Many (and possibly most) teen crimes are expunged after they become adults so they don't have to answer "Yes" to that question on just about all job apps, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"

As for the victim here, yes, she did something that from the adult perspective was stupid: allowing herself to get that drunk. But, heck, I'm a smart guy and like I said above, I did my share of toilet hugging in the day. Your limit for alcohol is something you arrive at through trial and error. 

In a small town, one has limited choices for friends. Typically, it's either classmates or someone down the street or someone you meet in church. Her problem was in having "friends" who didn't care for her as a real friend would. In fact, it hasn't been discussed, but there must have been almost universal disdain for her to start with for none of the other kids present to raise an objection or try to seek help.

Now we have girls trying to defend rapists and threatening the victim. How sad. Some girls never do learn.

"(Reuters) - Two teenage girls were arrested in Ohio on Monday and accused of using social media to threaten the young victim in a high-profile rape trial that concluded this past weekend, state Attorney General Mike DeWine said."

Well, they're teens. I was a Nazi when I was a teen and a Communist a few years later.

Seriously? LOL what why?

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