Steubenville Rape Case: Script Goes Awry for Accused Teen
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
Ma'lik Richmond, a high school sophomore football player in Steubenville, Ohio, is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl from across the Ohio River in West Virginia while at a party with several other teenage boys.
The case has created a firestorm in the small football-obsessed city stoked by allegations that officials protected Steubenville football players at the expense of the alleged victim. Residents there follow the storied Big Red high school football team religiously. It is a program that Ma'lik, 16, had dreamed of joining and, on the night of Aug. 11, 2012, he relished the role he played in their first scrimmage win.
"I had two touchdowns and the fans were screaming and cheering," Ma'lik told ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas in an exclusive interview with "20/20" given a little more than a week before his trial, which begins today. "I was just thinking,'I just can't wait for the season to start.'
Do's dis means a brutha cants plays ball ani more afta wapin da white girl?
Why do's dis happens when you wape a wite gurl?
Ma'lik says he was stunned to get a text from a friend three days after the party saying that one of the girls present that night had accused him of rape.
"I just texted him, like,'What are you talking about? Stop playing with me,'" he said.
Up until that fateful night, Ma'lik's life had read like a script from the movie "The Blind Side." Growing up, it was not uncommon for him to dodge gunfire at home.
"One day we were all just sitting in my living room and it was dark and all you hear is a big gunshot," he said. "The bullet flew past my cousin's head and we all just hit the floor. I just remember basically every house I lived in was the same exact thing."
Sports soon became an escape from his home life. By the age of 8, he had already become a gifted athlete who excelled at baseball, basketball and track. It was football, though, that afforded him the first real opportunity for a better life.
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