US teen accused of livestreaming friend’s rape via Periscope

By @chelean on
RTX153N0An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman in Berlin, November 7, 2013.
An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman in Berlin, November 7, 2013. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

A US teen has been accused of livestreaming the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl. Marina Lonina, 18, said to have used the social media app Periscope to film her boyfriend, Raymond Gates, raping the girl.

The alleged attack occurred on Feb. 27 in Columbus, Ohio, and was reported by an out-of-state friend who had watched the Twitter live video feed.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Lonina was socialising with the victim, her friend, with Gates at a home when Gates, 29, raped the girl. Lonina used the Periscope app to livestream the incident. Lonina had also taken a picture of the girl naked the night before at her house.

Both accused are facing charges of two counts of rape, one count of kidnapping, one count of sexual battery and two counts of pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor. Lonina also faces one count of illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performance charge.

Her lawyer said she “categorically” denies the charges. She will be arraigned Friday. It’s still unknown how Gates will respond to the charges.

“If Gates and Lonina are convicted for these charges, they each face a potential sentence in excess of forty years in prison,” O’Brien said in a statement.

Periscope is a standalone app from Twitter that lets users broadcast live video online. Its terms of use ban the posting of pornographic or overtly sexual content, as well as intimate videos or photos taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.

Nevertheless, the incident is not the first time the app has been used to livestream a crime. In February 2015, a woman in Florida broadcasted herself live on the app as she was driving home drunk. Periscope followers of Whitney Beall, 23, watched as she got behind the wheel after admitting she was intoxicated. Two of those who watched the feed reported the incident to the police. According to nbc41.com, she avoided jail after making a plea deal.

In July 2015, teens from Utah, US, were also arrested after they livestreamed themselves on Periscope robbing an ice cream truck.

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