Ma'Lik Richmond Returns To Steubenville Football Team After Serving Sentence In Rape Case

Ma'Lik Richmond, one of the teens convicted in the Steubenville rape case, is back on on the football team at the local high school as of this week. Richmond, 18, was released from a juvenile detention center earlier this year after serving 10 months of his sentence. His co-defendant, Trent Mays, is still in the juvenile detention center.

CBS Pittsburgh shares that Ma'Lik Richmond was sentenced to one year in the facility after being found guilty of raping a teenage girl. The Steubenville case brought nationwide attention to the town after details of the case went viral. As NBC News notes, Richmond and Mays were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl after a party in August 2012.

As The Huffington Post explains, the Steubenville case garnered national attention after news spread that there had been both photos and videos made of the rape of the girl. Some images showed the inebriated victim being carried by her ankles and wrists by two males, and there were others watching and making jokes about the girl.

The town of about 18,000 people became known throughout the country not only for the girl's rape, but for the way the football players and program seemingly became more important than the sexual assault of a young girl. Several adults with the school have faced allegations and charges that they tried to cover up the rape.

Ma'Lik Richmond returned to school after his January release, but he was suspended from the school's extracurricular activities until the end of the school year. Reno Saccoccia, the school's football coach, says that while the sexual assault was "a horrible crime," Richmond paid his dues. Saccoccia added, "We don't deal in death sentences for juvenile activity, and I just feel that he's earned a second chance."

According to WTOV 9, the Ohio High School Athletic Association does not have anything in the bylaws that would preclude Ma'Lik Richmond from rejoining the team. The group's information director Tim Stried says that the school gets to decide in cases like this, though they did check with the association first to ensure they weren't missing anything in the bylaws. Stried does say, "I think some schools would have handled it differently."

Richmond has been classified as a Tier II sex offender, meaning that he will be required to register as a sex offender every six months for the next 20 years. The teen and his attorney tried to get the sex offender classification dropped, but the request was denied. Trent Mays was given a two-year sentence, and he will also have to register as a sex offender when he is released.

Sadly, situations like what happened in Steubenville have become all too common. Not long ago, the hashtag #JadaPose went viral on Twitter as many mocked the videotaped rape of a 15-year-old girl. Four teens have been arrested in that case. Steubenville, Ohio, may well always carry the weight now of this rape case, and people definitely have opinions regarding the school's decision to let Ma'Lik Richmond play football again. Did they make the right call?

[Image via USA Herald]