Ma’Lik Richmond, the Steubenville High School student convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in a case that drew national attention, has been released from a juvenile detention center less than a year after his conviction.
His release was first reported by WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio.
Last March, Judge Tom Lipps sentenced Richmond to at least one year in juvenile jail. Another Steubenville High School student athlete, Trent Mays, was convicted of raping the West Virginia girl in August 2012. Mays was also convicted of using his phone to take a photo of the naked underage girl. He was sentenced to two years.
Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, issued a statement saying the youth was “braced for the balance of his life” and that he and his family were requesting privacy.
“While away, Ma’Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways,” Madison said in the statement. “He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family.”
Richmond, who was 16, and Mays, 17, were captured in damning photo and video evidence carrying the girl and talking about the incident afterward, referring to her as “dead” in her drunken state.
The 16-year-old girl said she awoke naked in an unfamiliar house, unaware of what had taken place until she saw the pictures.
“They kept telling me I was a hassle and they took care of me,” she testified. “I thought I could trust him (Mays) until I saw the pictures and video.”
Both boys broke into tears as the verdict was read.
The case gained national attention because of an alleged cover-up within the small football-centric community. Additionally, local law enforcement was criticized for not pursuing charges against other members of Steubenville High’s “Big Red” football team who were at the Aug. 11 party where the crime took place.
Three other boys where present while the crime was being committed, but chose to record it rather than intervene. They were granted immunity for their testimony in the case against Richmond and Mays. They told the court that the girl was unaware of what was happening at the time, and that she was penetrated digitally in a car and on a basement floor.
Bob Fitzsimmons, attorney for the girl, said in a statement Monday it was “disheartening” that no mention of her or her family was made in the statement issued on Richmond’s behalf.
“One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself,” Fitzsimmons said. “Rape is about victims, not defendants.”
This was Madison’s full statement:
“The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’Lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma’Lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagine for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life. As with each other obstacle, Ma’Lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; he is braced for the balance of his life. While away, Ma’Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways. He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family. At this point, Ma’Lik wants most to be a high school teenager.”
Richmond must register as a sex offender every six months for 20 years. However, he can request to have the classification removed later, based on rehabilitation history, and his name won’t be included on publicly accessible websites.
The Steubenville School District’s former technology director, William Rhinaman, 53