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Texts, cell photos serving as evidence in rape trial

– Prosecutors on Thursday introduced graphic text messages in the trial of two Ohio high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl.

The texts include messages from the alleged victim in which she says she doesn’t remember the night of the attack and is trying to find out what happened. The girl also implies that she believes she was drugged that night.

“Swear to God I don’t remember doing anything with them,” the girl wrote to a friend who authorities say saw the assaults.

“I wasn’t being a slut. They were taking advantage of me,” she also wrote to the same boy.

Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, are charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in the back seat of a moving car after a party Aug. 11 and then in the basement of a house. Mays also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. The two maintain their innocence.

Prosecutors insist she was too drunk to consent to sex, while defense attorneys have portrayed her as someone who was intoxicated but still in control of her actions. Witnesses have said the girl was so drunk she threw up and had trouble walking and speaking.

The texts introduced Thursday in juvenile court also included ones in which Mays admitted that he digitally penetrated the girl.

He also sent messages to his friends to try to get them to gloss over what happened that night. In one, Mays wrote, “Just say she came to your house and passed out.”

Authorities said they collected 17 cellphones in their investigation. The evidence they yielded is considered crucial to prosecutors’ case against the boys because of photos taken that evening.

If convicted, Mays and Richmond could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21.

Mays and Richmond have been identified in news coverage, and their names have been used in open court.

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