Opening day of Steubenville rape trial focuses on key photo of gir

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It’s the photo that sent shock waves around the globe and put an unmovable spotlight on the Steubenville rape scandal, the trial of which opened Wednesday with graphic testimony flying inside and snow squalls swirling outside here in this old steel town on the Ohio River.
In the photo, a slumped and seemingly passed out 16-year-old West Virginia girl is being carried, her wrists grasped by Steubenville Big Red football player Trent Mays, her ankles by teammate Ma’lik Richmond.

Her head is sagged back, her hair dragging on the floor. She looks, if not dead, then incapacitated. With the context of the two boys having been charged with her rape, the natural reaction of anyone of any measure of decency was horror.
This looked like an innocent girl being hauled off for … well.
Even months after the photo hit the Internet courtesy of an affiliate of the hacking group Anonymous, it remains a visceral cornerstone of this hotly debated and closely followed case that has come to include the legal obligations of bystanders, most notably the people who took the photo or witnessed the scene it depicts.
It is also emblematic of the immense challenge facing defense attorneys, who must change perceptions and deconstruct, in painstaking detail, incident after incident, photo after photo and – in what might come as soon as Thursday – eyewitness after eyewitness testimony of not just the specific acts of rape, but a culture of boorish behavior among a crew of young Steubenville High athletes.

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