A woman will appear in an Ohio court on Friday accused of broadcasting a friend’s alleged rape on the mobile app Periscope.
Marina Lonina, 18, faces charges that she used her mobile phone to broadcast live a 17-year-old girl being raped by a mutual acquaintance.
Lonina and the acquaintance, Raymond Boyd Gates, 29, are both set to be arraigned in Franklin County court in Columbus, Ohio.
“The victim and the two defendants were socializing and at some point in the evening it is alleged that Gates forced sexual intercourse with the victim and Lonina started Periscoping (live-streaming in real time) the sexual assault,” according to a statement from Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien.
The alleged attack took place in late February at a house in Columbus, and a county grand jury on Wednesday agreed to indict Lonina and Gates on several serious felony charges.
An unnamed individual saw the broadcast on Lonina’s Periscope channel as it was happening and raised the alarm, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“A friend of Lonina’s in another state watched the Periscope live stream of the rape … and the authorities were contacted,” O’Brien said.
The defendants both face charges of kidnap, rape, sexual battery and pandering involving a minor, and each could potentially be sentenced to more than 40 years in prison if they are convicted, O’Brien said.
Lonina was also indicted on offenses relating to illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance for allegedly photographing the victim naked the night before the alleged rape.
The victim and the defendants were drinking alcohol together and the victim’s ability “to resist or consent was substantially impaired”, according to the indictment.
The Periscope app, which allows users to broadcast events live, is the year-old creation of Twitter and it was revealed last month it had already been used to make 200m livestreams.
A statement from Twitter said the company did not comment on individual accounts, despite Periscope’s stated policies on graphic content. The website explains that “explicit graphic content is not allowed” on the platform, including “but not limited to” depictions of child or animal abuse or bodily harm and content intended to incite or threaten violence.
Copyright © 2016 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.