Marina Lonina, an 18-year-old high school student from Ohio, pleaded not guilty last Friday to a charge of using a social media app to livestream the rape of her 17-year-old friend. According to USA Today News, she told police she recorded the assault on Periscope in order to build evidence. Her attorney said the teenager was trying to get her friend out of the house where the alleged attack was taking place. Lonina faces multiple charges, pandering sexual matter involving a minor and sexual battery among them.
Raymond Gates, her 29-year-old co-defendant, also pleaded not guilty to rape charges. According to Lonina’s attorney, Sam Shamansky (insert your own play on words/lawyer joke here), she and her friend met Gates at a Columbus shopping mall the day before the assault. He purchased a bottle of vodka for them and suggested they meet the following day. Police documents state that the students from New Albany High School were drinking at Gates’ home on February 27th when he held the victim down and raped her, local NBC affiliate WCMH reported. (What could possibly go wrong when you let a strange older man buy you- and your minor-age girlfriend- liquor and you then accept his invitation to meet at his house? How could they have seen any of this coming? They probably just thought he was kind and generous, right?).
Lonina began using her phone to record the attack. Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said, “She got, I guess, taken up with all the ‘likes’ that her livestream was getting and therefore continued to do it, and did nothing to aid the victim.” So it’s come to this: an actual rape filmed and watched in real time is enjoyed (“liked!”) by so many viewers that the young woman filming it is compelled to continue.
Shamanksy acknowledges that Lonina used Periscope to livestream the “event,” but still claimed his client did “everything possible to contain the situation, even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these periscope followers, ‘What should I do now? What should I do now?’”
Those watching and ‘liking’ on Periscope would’ve said to do just what she did…”keep filming.” Or perhaps they may have suggested, “a little to the left and down, please.”
(Lorina and her friend are naturalized U.S. citizens from Russia. The comments on the Periscope video were in Russian).