Steubenville rape case: Are innocent being blamed by ‘Anonymous’ group?

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(CNN) — Two 16-year-old members of the powerhouse high school football team in the small Ohio town of Steubenville are charged with sexually assaulting a girl after a series of parties in August. They are set for trial in a juvenile court in February.

The case gained national attention after The New York Times published a lengthy piece on it in December. The activist hacker group Anonymous and other critics have accused community leaders of trying to paper over rampant misconduct by football players and suggested that other students took part in the assaults or failed to do enough stop them.

Anonymous helped organize a weekend protest in Steubenville that drew a crowd of hundreds to the town, a community of about 18,000 on the Ohio River across the river from West Virginia.

CNN’s Gary Tuchman spoke with KY, an Anonymous member, who believes witnesses to the alleged rape are as guilty as perpetrators.

“We (Anonymous) are not really the judge, nor the jury, but it’s fair to say that we are the executioner,” KY said.

Anonymous has posted names of football players who the group believes saw the rape take place. One player, Eddie Wilson, says his information was released but he wasn’t at the parties in question.

Anonymous stands by their decision to post names because they think multiple people are guilty of rape, not just the two players who have been charged.

The defendants in the rape case, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, are both 16. Their attorneys have said both teens are not guilty, and say they will seek to get the trial moved because of the excessive publicity the case has received. Both are charged with rape, while Mays faces an additional charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.

At an October hearing, witnesses say they saw the girl stumbling, vomiting and eventually unconscious, having to be carried by the hands and feet. One of the witnesses said she didn’t respond when Richmond performed a sexual act on her in the basement of another student’s home.