WASHINGTON, March 18, 2013 ― In a bizarre report, CNN empathizes with the “very emotional” plight of convicted rapists as they are given sentences.
UPDATE: A related Change.org petition, entitled “CNN: Apologize for your disgusting coverage of the Steubenville Rapists” has recieved approximately 95,000 signatures since publication.
Yesterday, a judge in Steubenville, Ohio convicted two young men of sexually assaulting an intoxicated 16-year-old girl at a high school party. The case had gained wide publicity partially because the two high school football players recorded the event and posted it on a number of social media sites including YouTube and Twitter.
Judge Tom Lipps found Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16 delinquent in the sexual assault.
Witnesses, and videos, showed that the under age girl was too drunk to move or speak and that she was essentially “in a stupor” when the two men sexually assaulted her.
Judge Lipps ordered Richmond to a juvenile detention facility for at least one year and Mays for at least two years. The juvenile system could hold them until age 21. Both men are required to register as sexual offenders.
Mays and Richmond apologized to the victim before the sentencing, although both had previously claimed that any sexual activity that took place was consensual.
Both are appealing the conviction.
In media coverage today, CNN appeared far more sympathetic to the young men than to the victim.
Candy Crowley has difficulty with words as she qualifies the act as “essentially rape.“
Poppy Harlow is visibly emotional over the apologies of the rapists.
Paul Callen bemoans the fact that becoming registered sex offenders will destroy these rapists’ future lives. Very little media attention is given to the victim, or her family, and even then, she is only mentioned as an afterthought.
Watch the video clip above and decide for yourself if CNN is still relevant in today’s media.
RELEVANT TRANSCRIPT (Emphasis added):
CANDY CROWLEY: “I cannot imagine, having just watched this on the feed coming in, how emotional that must have been, sitting in the courtroom.”
POPPY HARLOW: “I’ve never experienced anything like it, Candy. It was Incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures — star football players, very good students — literally watched as, as they believed their life fell apart.
One of, one of the young men, Malik Richmond, when that sentence came down, he collapsed. He collapsed in the arms of his attorney, Walter Madison. He said to him ‘My life is over. No one is going to want me now.’ Very serious crime here, both found guilty of raping this sixteen year old girl at a series of parties back in August, alcohol-fueled parties, alcohol a huge part in this, but Trent Mays was also found guilty on a second count, and that is of felony illegal use of a minor and nudity-oriented material.
Because he took a photograph of the victim laying naked that night, Trent Mays will serve two years in a juvenile detention facility. Malik Richmond will serve one year on that one count that he was found guilty for.
But I want to let our viewers listen because for the first time of the entire trial, we have now heard from the two young men. Trent Mays stood up, apologizing to the victim’s family in court, after him, Malik Richmond.”
HARLOW: “I was sitting about three feet from Malik when he gave that statement. It was very difficult to watch. And, you know something that came up throughout this sentencing, Candy, was that Malik’s father got up and, and spoke. Malik has been living with guardians.
His father, a former alcoholic, gotten into a lot of trouble with the law, been in prison before, and his father stood up and told the court, ‘I feel responsible for this. I feel like I wasn’t there for my son.’ And before that, he came over to the bench where his son was sitting and he approached him, he hugged him, and he whispered in his ear.
And Malik’s attorney said to us in the courtroom, ‘I have never heard Malik’s father before say, ‘I love you.’ He’s never told his son that, but he just did today.’ This was an incredibly emotional day, these two, uh, juveniles, being carried out, right now, I’m watching people line up. And they will be committed today, Candy.”
CROWLEY: “The thing is, when you listen to it and you realize that they could stay until they are 21, they are going to get credit for time served, what is the lasting effect though, on two young men being found guilty in juvenile court, of rape, essentially?”’
PAUL CALLEN: Well, you know Candy, we’ve seen here a courtroom drenched in tears and tragedy, and you know, Poppy’s description, I think, you know, sums it all up. But across America, scenes like this happen all the time. I know as a prosecutor and defense attorney, when that verdict is handed down, usually it’s just the families of the defendants and the victims.
There is always that moment of, just, lives are destroyed! And you know, lives have already been destroyed by the crime, and we got a chance to, to see that. But in terms of what happens now, yeah, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders.
That label is now placed on them by Ohio law. And by the way, the laws in most other states now require such a designation in the face of such a serious crime. That will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Employers when looking up their background will see that they are registered sex offenders. When they move into a new neighborhood, and somebody goes on the internet, where these things are posted, neighbors will know that they are registered sex offenders.
It’s really, something that will have a lasting impact, much more of a lasting impact than going to a juvenile facility for one or two years.”
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