Nightly News   |  March 16, 2013

Girl takes stand in Steubenville rape trial

The trial of two Ohio high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl resumed on Saturday. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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>>> in a courtroom in steubenville, ohio, a 17-year-old girl who says she was raped by two high school football players took the witness stand today at their trial. the alleged attack took place last august and has left the town on edge ever since. nbc's ron allen was in the courtroom today. he joins us now from steubenville tonight with the latest, ron?

>> reporter: good evening, lester. the young girl was very composed as she told what happened. she said she went to a house party that night with friends, admitted drinking heavily. she burst into tears, however, when she was shown pictures from the alleged night showing her naked and apparently very intoxicated. she says she woke up the following morning, frightened, afraid, embarrassed, because she had no idea where she was or what had happened. prosecutors insist 17-year-old trent mays , hot young girl spent much of that night with, raped her in the back seat of a car on the night in question. and then later attacked her again, along with 16-year-old defendant malik richman, while the girl was laying on a basement floor. in court, the accuser testified she woke up after a night of party-hopping with no idea where she was. "i didn't know what to think," she testified, adding, "i didn't remember anything and it just freaked me out." prosecutors claim the defendants, seen in this picture holding the girl, humiliated and degraded her and treated her "like a toy."

>> i think it was fit for the prosecutors at this point, i think they've established what they need to establish, that this girl really was so intoxicated she was unable to consent to these actions when they occurred.

>> reporter: the defense insists prosecutors cannot prove the two teenagers committed a crime.

>> we don't believe that they could even support there was in fact any sexual conduct, let alone that that conduct was nonconsensual.

>> reporter: in text messages from the following day, as she pieced together what happened with friends, the accuser said to defendant mays why the expletive would you let that happen, seriously, you have no expletive respect. the case has been so emotional here because it involves players from the town's beloved high school football team. as disturbing images from the night in question, like this video of young people mocking the girl, circulated on social media , protesters demanded more arrests. the state attorney general has said the investigation continues. meanwhile, just about everyone in this small, close-knit town has an opinion.

>> i don't understand what the little boys were going through, because they don't believe that they would do anything like that.

>> i think that it 's wonderful that it's headline news, i really do. i think jane doe deserves justice.

>> reporter: the defendants have pleaded not guilty. their attorneys have said the young girl was a willing participant in everything that happened that night. the accuser also testified the defendant mays pleaded with her in the days following the alleged incident not to tell anyone that anything had happened. lester?

>> ron allen , thanks.