March 18th, 2013
11:38 PM ET

Social media consequences and Steubenville

Attorney and children's rights advocate Areva Martin and CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin discuss the Steubenville rape case and the teens arrested for threatening the victim on Twitter.

The two high school football players who had pleaded innocent, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, apologized in court Sunday after they were convicted by Judge Thomas Lipps. Mays was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a juvenile correctional facility, and Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year.

Toobin calls the punishment "modest" for the crime. "If they were adults, they could have gotten 20 years," he tells Anderson Cooper. "It's also important to point out, this was not a close case on the evidence. There were admissions through the social media, there were eyewitnesses to this rape, and there was of course the evidence that the victim was unconscious."

Martin believes the witness testimony put the victim on trial, instead of the accused, which she says happens often in rape cases.  "I hope that the attorney general broadens his net and that there is a full-scale investigation of so many more people who clearly had so much to do with this," says Martin. A grand jury will meet in April to determine if others should be charged.

A day after the verdict was decided, two teenage girls from Steubenville were taken into custody for threatening to attack and kill the 16-year-old rape victim. The 15 and 16 year old are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said he is monitoring social media closely for any new threats.

Martin calls the girls' actions on Twitter "just plain stupid" and she questions why parents haven't talked to their children about acting responsibly. "Has someone sat down to say, in social media, there are consequences?"

For more on the case, watch Steubenville victim's mother speaks out



soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Maryssa

    I avoid the news at all cost...everything is just disappointment across the board. This being said, I came across this...and was actually appalled. I am single, with no kids, and I still can't imagine that ANYONE I know would think this ok. I was raised by a single parent and got into a little trouble here and there, but my mother instilled the fear of God into me! She also rammed "rules" into my head to make sure I got them. I'm 27...and I still get lectures about them. "Never put your drink down, once its down, leave it...you never know what someone could have put into it!" Things like that...so I don't understand why parents are all of sudden being "friends" and not parents to their kids...and why aren't they teaching their kids right from wrong? How is ok for any of this to happen? And why was a 16 yo girl allowed to drink alcohol? I drank as a kid, but my friends always knew where I was and I knew where they were....and I knew how to get out of a situation if I needed to...why isn't common sense, maturity, and morality instilled in kids anymore!? All reasons why I'm ok with not having kids...this is world is spinning out of control and no one seems to want to take responsibility for it! Shame!

    March 20, 2013 at 1:46 am |
  2. Candice

    Did anyone else notice that Ma'lik Richmond apologized to the victim and her family for what he had done and for ruining the victim's life and Trent Mays apologized for taking pictures and posting them?! To me that says Mays is sorry only for getting caught and not for committing the horrendous crime.

    March 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
  3. Laurna

    I think parents should NEVER stop talking to their kids and teens about anyting. Given any opportunity I would openly discuss my feelings with my boys now 18 and 20. The girls threatening her afterwards should be held just as accountable as those involved initially.... They need to learn you just don't jump on board any story you are told and act when it is a situation you have no business in at all?

    March 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  4. Laura Beaudoin

    As the mother of 3 grown sons – I was especially appalled that NO ONE at the rape site intervened! Did no one in that place have ANY morals/character at all?? I taught my sons it was their responsibility to step in if they came across a 2-or-more against one – when just one person steps up to do the right thing, many others will tend to join in. I appreciate your program.

    March 19, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Travis

      It doesn't surprise me at all. It's unfortunate and makes me sick to my stomach, but it's not surprising.

      April 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

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