The former head of the Steubenville chapter of the NAACP is under fire on Thursday after he reportedly told a conservative publication that a 16-year-old rape survivor was "drunk" and willing to have sex.
In an interview with International Business Times, Royal Mayo, who the NAACP lists as the former leader of the Steubenville chapter in Ohio, defended the actions of former football players Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond after they were convicted of raping the 16-year-old girl.
Calling the girl an "alleged victim," Mayo suggested that the sex may have been consensual.
"She said her mother brought her to the party, at 3 o'clock, with a bottle of vodka," he explained. “Where did you get it, young lady? You brought it from home? Where’d you get it? You came to the party with your mother.”
“They’re alleging she got raped; she’s acknowledging that she wanted to leave with Trent. Her friends say she pushed them away as she went and got into the car, twice telling them, ‘I know what I’m doing; I’m going with Trent.’”
Mayo admitted that he had personally known Richmond, who was sentenced to at least one year in a juvenile correctional facility.
"Back in August, when the rumors first started going around, I talked to Ma’lik, and he said, ‘No, Mr. Mayo, we didn’t do anything to that girl. I don’t know what these rumors are; I don’t understand it,’” Mayo recalled.
A spokesperson for the NAACP on Thursday said that the organization was working to release a statement in response to Mayo's comments.
WTOV reported in 2009 that a domestic charge against Mayo was dropped after his girlfriend accused him of beating her.
Update (1:30 p.m. ET): In a statement provided to Raw Story, the NAACP said that it "abhors the remarks attributed to Royal Mayo regarding the rape victim in the Steubenville [case]."
"The remarks are Mayo’s own, and do not reflect the position of the NAACP and its membership," the statement said. "Mr. Mayo is not the president of the Steubenville NAACP and is not a spokesman for the NAACP. The article attributing him as such has been corrected by the International Business Times."
"Rape is a despicable crime of violence. The NAACP understands that comments that blame victims for the actions of their attackers contribute to and perpetuate a culture of acquiescence to rape."
[Photo: Facebook/Royal Mayo]
[Ed note: The original version of this story incorrectly identified Mayo as the current head, based on the IBT's reporting and a look at the NAACP's website. IBT has since corrected it after clarification from the NAACP as have we, and we regret the error.]