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Steubenville High School Football Players Found Guilty of Rape


Two Steubenville high school football players were found guilty on Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl, charges stemming from a series of parties in August 2012.

Judge Thomas Lipps sentenced Ma'lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, each to a minimum of one year in a youth correctional facility, where both could remain until they turn 21. The state's department of youth services will determine how long, if at all, to extend their sentences, according to CNN.com.

"It provides a great incentive to do well," the judge told the boys during the sentencing, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.

The judge sentenced Mays to an extra year at the juvenile facility for possession and transmission of nude photos of the victim. He'll serve that year immediately after his rape sentence concludes.

Both Mays and Richmond will also be forced to register as sex offenders, the judge ordered.

The two teens showed remorse after the judge read his decision.

"I would like to apologize to you. I had no intention to do anything like that, and I'm sorry for putting you guys through this," Richmond said to the victim's family before breaking down in tears.

"I would truly like to apologize to her family, to my family, and the community," Mays said. "Those pictures shouldn't have been sent around, let alone taken."

The decision should send shockwaves not only through the small Ohio community of Steubenville, but nationwide. The case gained national notoriety after text messages, online photos and videos, and social media postings from the teenagers went viral, describing the night of the incident in graphic detail.

Mays told friends via text message that the girl "was barely moving" on the night of the incident, according to Yahoo!'s Wetzel, after a night of underage drinking grew far more out of hand.

On Saturday, the accuser took the stand to testify, saying that she woke up naked in a basement the next morning with Mays, Richmond, and another boy.

"I was embarrassed and scared, and I did not know what to think because I could not remember anything," she said, according to the New York Times.

The teens effectively sealed their fate with their brazenness, leaving a digital footprint that investigators were able to eventually trace back to them. While some of the photos of the girl were unrecoverable, the text messages, YouTube videos and tweets all painted a horrific picture and helped lead to their arrest last summer.

Just because you only have a few Twitter followers doesn't mean that your online postings are wholly anonymous. Anything and everything posted online or via text message can come back to haunt you, especially if you're boasting about a criminal act.

While the culture of high school football can make some players feel invincible, the internet has become the great equalizer.

Photo: Defense attorney Walter Madison, right, holds his client, 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond, second from right, while defense attorney Adam Nemann, left, sits with his client Trent Mays, foreground, 17, as Judge Thomas Lipps pronounces them both delinquent on rape and other charges after their trial in juvenile court in Steubenville, Ohio, on Sunday. Mays and Richmond were accused of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August 2012. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

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