CNN reported on a guilty verdict in a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio stressing the rapists’ fall from grace.
CNN reporters Poppy Harlow and anchor Candy Crowley reported on the verdict and had this to say about it:
“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 they believed their lives fell apart…when that sentence came down, [Ma’lik] collapsed in the arms of his attorney…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 the sixteen-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August.”
Footage of both Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays tearfully apologizing in court was also shown by CNN.
While both reporters spent considerable time discussing the “promising” lives of the two star football players, there was no mention of the West Viriginia 16-year-old victim and how she felt about the verdict. Instead, Crawley asked Paul Callan, a legal expert, to talk bout the future of the two young men.
Crawley asked: “Sixteen-year-olds just sobbing in court, regardless of what big football players they are, they still sound like sixteen-year-olds…what’s the lasting effect, though, on two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially?”
Callen told Crawley that the “most severe thing” was that both teens would be labeled as registered sex offenders.
“That label is now placed on them by Ohio law…That will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Employers, when looking up their background, will see that they’re 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,” Callan added.
Harlow and Crawley’s sympathy towards the rapists has ignited a backlash. There had been three petitions demanding an apology from CNN for its “disgusting” coverage. The largest petition, Change.org, collected 30,000 signatures.
John Szarowski of Corinna, Maine who started a similar petition said, “The criminals were almost becoming the victims.”
“Now their lives were destroyed. There was no mention at all of their victim, and the life they destroyed.”
How do you feel about the verdict?