Two days after the alleged attacks was reported to law enforcement, local police confiscated about a dozen electronic devices belonging to all of the individuals involved. The devices were then turned over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, which reviewed tens of thousands of e-mails, texts, and photos. Mays and Mr. Richmond were arrested three days later. They are currently under house arrest.
Prosecutors say a photo taken at the party shows both boys holding the alleged victim by her arms and legs, suggesting her unconscious state. Defense attorneys deny she was unconscious, and claim to have a text message from the girl sent to their client that says, “I know you didn’t rape me.”
Also circulating are text messages posted to some social networks that reference that the rape happened, while the New York Times reports that a second photo snapped by a mobile phone shows the girl naked on a floor. Adding to the digital evidence is a video published online by Anonymous, the international hacker activist group, showing a group of students joking about the assault.
“Is it really rape because you don’t know if she wanted to or not? … She might have wanted to. That might have been her final wish,” one teenager is shown saying, according to CNN.
Local police say they are also tracking a possible video that is purported to show both boys participating in the violent attack.
The role social media plays in violent crimes is a relatively recent phenomenon dating back to the popularity of so-called “flash mobs,” which are public events involving group action that are planned and then executed using social media.