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Rape trial begins for teen Ohio athletes

March 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, March 13 (UPI) -- Trial began Wednesday for two members of a highly touted Ohio high school football team accused of raping a 16-year-old girl after a drunken party.

The trial in Jefferson County Juvenile Court has drawn such national attention that Judge Thomas Lipps agreed to allow live streaming of portions of the testimony, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

Prosecutors from the Ohio Attorney General's Office charge the teens, ages 16 and 17, carried a drunken high school student from house to house where they raped her when she became too inebriated to consent to sexual activity.

Prosecutors charge that Ma'lik Richmond and Trent Mays, both members of the Steubenville Big Red football team, used their hands to penetrate the girl vaginally.

Defense attorneys say allegations the girl was drugged, dragged, and gang raped are not true and that she willingly got drunk and had sex with the athletes, ABC television reported.

More than 40 witnesses are expected to testify.

If convicted, the boys could be sent to a juvenile facility until they turn 21 and would have to register as sex offenders.

There is no jury. Lipps will decide the verdict.

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