Rape Trial Day 4: Expert Testifies for Defense

STEUBENVILLE — Testimony from an expert witness in the Steubenville rape trial today outlined the role alcohol could have played in the events of Aug. 11-12.

Kim Fromme, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas, studies the effects of alcohol on people. Attorney Walter Madison, counsel for the 16-year-old Steubenville High School student-athlete charged with rape, called her to the stand.

Based on previous testimony and evidence in the trial, Fromme estimated the alleged victim’s blood-alcohol content during the night in question was between 0.21 and 0.25 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

Fromme told the court all the evidence indicates the Weirton girl experienced an alcohol-induced blackout during the incident. She said people can continue to talk and appear cognizant during such a blackout. She also said people tend to be bad at perceiving others’ level of intoxication, especially if they have consumed alcohol themselves.

Fromme said it is possible the girl could have been sexually assaulted during a blackout and have no memory of it. However, she also said the girl could have had a sexual encounter and given consent without recalling she had done so.

Testimony in the trial of the two boys accused of raping the girl during a series of summer parties will continue this afternoon. Court is in recess for lunch until 2:30 p.m.