Steubenville, OH — Two teenage girls have been arrested after sending death threats to the 16-year-old victim in the Steubenville rape case.
The two girls, ages 15 and 16, are being held at the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center. The pair threatened the victim on Facebook and Twitter.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said the teenage girls made the threats Sunday after Judge Thomas Lipps found 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond guilty of juvenile charges equivalent to rape for digitally penetrating the victim last August.
Mays and Richmond were sentenced to a minimum of one year of incarceration. Mays received an extra year on his sentence for possessing a nude picture of the victim. Richmond may remain in jail until he turns 21; Mays could remain in jail until he is 24 years old.
The 16-year-old girl, who is related to Richmond, was arrested Monday. The 15-year-old turned herself in the same day. They are charged with felony intimidation of a victim, and misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and telecommunications harassment.
“Let me be clear,” State Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday. “Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you and we will arrest you.”
Assistant prosecutor Sam Pate was dismayed at the girls’ use of Facebook and Twitter to attack the victim.
“It’s beyond me why these young people believe it’s OK to post things of this nature on social media,” he said.
To try and curb the issue, Sheriff Fred Abdalla said his office is “monitoring Twitter 24 hours a day.” Abdalla added that the 15-year-old apologized on Twitter for making the threats, and that she was charged for the tweet the authorities were able to find.
Raven Harris, who is the sister of the 16-year-old defendant and Ma’lik Richmond’s first cousin, said the teenager was paraphrasing a lyric from rapper Meek Mill’s song “Traumatized.” The defendant tweeted, “You ripped my family apart, you made my cousin cry, so when I see you. . . it’s going to be a homicide.”
The actual lyrics says “mama” instead of “cousin.”
Harris added that her family has received numerous threats throughout the trial.
Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond will appear in court for an adjudicatory hearing on March 27.
Do you think the two teenage girls who threatened the Steubenville rape victims should have received harsher charges? What about Mays and Richmond?