The Steubenville, Ohio rape case has horrified people throughout the country.
Back in August, a drunk 16-year-old was denigrated while high school football players stood idly by and took pictures they later uploaded onto social media sites. The pictures became national news, including one of the victim being carried by her arms and ankles like a rag doll.
A judge ruled on Sunday that Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, had raped the girl by penetrating her with their fingers (which is rape under Ohio law).
Before that verdict came down, 20/20 got an exclusive interview with Richmond that finally aired on Friday night. The interview is upsetting. Richmond broke down in tears after the verdict was read on March 17. But in the 20/20 interview, he doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of what happened that August night.
The morning after the rape, the victim woke naked up in the basement of a strange house. 20/20’s Elizabeth Vargas asked Richmond how the victim seemed that morning.
“She was fine. The only thing she was really looking for was her phone,” Richmond said.
A prosecutor in the case had a different story for 20/20. “Her phone’s missing. Her underwear are missing. Her shoes are missing. Her earrings are missing,” prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter told 20/20. “She doesn’t know where she’s at. It’s scary.”
Later on in the interview, Richmond still seemed adamant that he didn’t hurt the victim.
“I realise I was doing wrong by drinking and partying. But I didn’t rape anybody. I didn’t witness a rape going on,” he said. “If I had thought somebody was being raped, I would have stopped it.”
After the verdict was actually read in court, Richmond broke down into tears and approached the victim. “I had no attention of doing anything like that,” he said. “And I’m sorry to put you guys through this.”
It’s possible Richmond finally understood he’d done something wrong — or maybe he was crying those tears for himself.
In the 20/20 interview Richmond did hint that there was a dangerous group think going on the evening that teenagers sent around heartless tweets like this one: “She looks dead. LMAO.”
“I really just think that everybody had a few drinks in ’em and nobody was thinking,” he said. “I think everybody was just out of their minds.”
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