Update: Some people seem to have misunderstood my point. Mays presented himself to adults far differently than to his friends. I used a TV character many people would remember to illustrate the insincerity of his lying text to the victim’s father. The string of text messages linked below amply demonstrates how abominably he acted toward the victim, who deserves everyone’s support.
Fans of classic TV will remember Eddie Haskell from “Leave It To Beaver”. Making mischief, getting his friends in trouble, sucking up to their parents as if he were the nicest boy who ever lived.
If the writers had cast Eddie as the bad guy in a crime show instead of a sitcom, he might have resembled Trent Mays. He’s one of two teenagers convicted in juvenile court Sunday of digital penetration (which in Ohio constitutes rape) of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl in Steubenville last August.
The nationally watched case stayed hot Monday when authorities arrested two teenage girls for posting online threats to the victim.
While much of the narrative has focused on a gang of out-of-control players running wild in a football-obsessed town, what emerged from the trial was more focused — a 17-year-old high school quarterback who unspeakably betrayed a girl who considered him her friend, treating her like a sex toy at two parties and in a car, and passing her on to at least one buddy.
In a series of texts (warning: vile language) read aloud in court and compiled by activist blogger Don Carpenter, Mays brags about what he’s doing to his semi-conscious victim and sends out naked photos of her.
Some of his friends cheer him on, but two don’t agree. One says “u a felon,” and Mays denies the rape he previously admitted. By the next day, he’s still bragging, but then realizes he’s in trouble and starts covering up, furiously trying to get his friends to delete photos and videos of the girl from their phones and social media accounts. Then comes this post to the victim’s father, in a completely different voice.
Sir, this is Trent Mays. This is all a misunderstanding. I just took care of your daughter when she was drunk and made sure she was safe.
Mr. Cleaver, sir, this was all a misunderstanding…
The victim’s parents didn’t buy it any more than Ward and June. They went to the police.
Both Mays and co-defendant Ma’Lik Richmond got a minimum of one year in juvenile custody for the rape, with an additional year for Mays for taking and distributing nude photos of the victim. More seriously for their futures, both will probably have to register as sex offenders for life.
Richmond’s involvement is different. The 16-year-old wide receiver did not previously know the victim and isn’t to be found in the series of texts.
Mays is white; Richmond is black–a halfway “Blind Side” kid, helped (but not adopted) by a white couple when his father was in prison and his mother strung out on drugs.
Richmond fell apart at the sentencing, sobbing and apologizing profusely to the victim’s family. According to the Daily Mail:
“After the guilty verdict was read out in court, Ma’lik Richmond approached the victim’s mother and said: ‘I’m so very sorry.’
“She responded: ‘I know you are and I forgive you.’ “
The judge differentiated between the two defendants, calling Mays’ actions “more egregious.”
Both CNN and ABC have given the perpetrators sympathetic coverage, with CNN drawing anger from women’s advocates and others in the media. Perhaps getting the message, CNN took a pro-victim slant on “Anderson Cooper 360″ Monday. Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel has provided widely praised coverage.