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The Steubenville rape case story shocked many people when they first heard about and no wonder: the accounts were dramatic.
Allison Kilkenny in The Nation:
Following the horrific assault of a 16-year-old girl in which the alleged rapists, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, dragged the extremely drunk girl to three separate parties during the course of the night as their personal rape toy, hundreds of protesters descended upon the city of Steubenville, Ohio, demanding justice.
Michelle Dean in the New Yorker:
What emerged was terrifying: rumor had it that she’d been repeatedly sexually assaulted at several parties, publicly dragged from house to house, unconscious, as a “joke.”
Natasha Lennard in Salon:
A 16-year-old girl was, according to prosecutors, gang raped and dragged from party to party by a number of star football players while she was too drunk to consent.
But did those journalists and others get the facts correct?
Let’s compare those dramatics summaries with the facts that the prosecution presented. Remember, this testimony resulting in the judge finding probable cause for rape.
It’s important to note : this is not ‘blaming the victim’. In fact, quite the opposite — what I’m laying out here are the facts that the prosecution and their witnesses used in the probable cause hearing. It’s not the prosecution of the victim who wrote the articles listed about; it’s journalists. Correcting their incorrect or misleading statements has nothing to do with the alleged victim.
1) The First Party at the Belardine House
The suspects did not bring Jane Doe to this party. Here, the prosecution examines to Anthony Craig.
When the party ended at about 12:15, Jane Doed needed help walking but according the testimony — testimony elicited by the prosecution, it should be pointed out — Jane Doe voluntarily left with suspects and in fact had an argument with her girlfriends about leaving with them. This is Mark Cole.
2) Drive from Belardine to Howarth
Five minute drive. Accuser was awake. Nothing eventful.
3) The Second “Party “at Jake Howarth House
Not much of a party at this point in the evening. They accuser, suspects and Mark Cole were only there about twenty minutes. Alleged victim is awake.
Testimony claims no drinking at the second party.
Jane Doe is conscious, throws up and is sleepy
The group left this party because they were told to leave by Jake Howarth’s mother.
Jane Doe has apparently fallen asleep and needs to be carried out. This testimony is from Anthony Craig.
Craig says he doesn’t know what they were yelling.
On the walk to the car, Jane Doe is awake and says she needs to throw up. You’ll note this witness – Mark Cole – saw the suspects helping Jane Doe.
4) Car ride from Howarth house to Cole house
This is where the first alleged assault happen. NSFW testimony from
5) “Party” At Cole House
This is where the second alleged assaults happen. This is the last stop and not really a ‘party’, exactly. This is the testimony of Mark Cole.