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Steubenville Rape Trial: Cell phone photos of alleged victim discussed in second day of testimony

This photo of an alleged rape victim is being distributed by online activists looking to call attention to a sexual assault case in Steubenville, Ohio CBS via LOCALLEAKS.com

This photo of an alleged rape victim was distributed by online activists to call attention to a sexual assault case in Steubenville, Ohio in August, 2012.
CBS via LOCALLEAKS.com

(CBS) - The morning of the second day of testimony in the trial of two Steubenville, Ohio high school football players accused of rape centered on cell phone photographs of the alleged victim in various states of drunkenness and undress, as well as social media postings from the night of the incident.

Pictures: Steubenville Rape Trial

Ma'Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, are accused of raping 16-year-old girl in the back seat of a car and in the basement of a home on August 11, 2012. They are being tried in juvenile court in Steubenville.

The testimony focused on how police gathered evidence from the cell phones of the defendants and witnesses, with defense attorneys questioning police methods of retrieval, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Steubenville Police Captain Joel Walker said he found nude photos of a girl on Mays' cell phone, including images of her on a couch and on the floor, reports the paper.

Some of the images in question were distributed on social media during the night of the party and in the days afterward. Students tweeted pictures and talked about the incident with hashtags like #rape and #drunkgirl, bringing police and national media attention to the case.

Katie Hanna, the executive director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, is attending the trial and told Crimesider that she was struck by the fact that so many teens apparently witnessed the girl being "degraded" and decided not to call for help but to take photos and post them online or send them to friends via text.

"There were so many bystanders at the party that did nothing," said Hanna.

Hanna suggested that educators and law enforcement could learn from the testimony.

"Teens are more likely to tweet or text when they see something happening than to call someone," she said.

But instead of despairing about that new development, she said adults need to figure out a way to use those technologies in educating and communicating with teens about drinking and sexual violence.

Mays and Richmond face incarceration in a juvenile facility until age 21 if convicted.

Complete coverage of the Steubenville Rape Case on Crimesider

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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