By TYLER REYNARD
STEUBENVILLE - Trent Mays, a former Steubenville High School student-athlete convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl, must register as a sex offender every six months for the next 20 years, Judge Thomas Lipps ruled Friday.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Trent Mays sits in Jefferson County Juvenile Court on Friday prior to a hearing in which he was classified as a tier II sex offender.
In March, Lipps found Mays and fellow former student-athlete Ma'Lik Richmond delinquent, the juvenile system's equivalent of a guilty verdict. Richmond was sentenced to at least a year in a juvenile facility. Mays received a minimum two-year sentence because he also was convicted of sending a nude cell phone photo of the girl.
During the hearing inside Jefferson County Juvenile Court on Friday, Lipps classified Mays, 17, of Bloomingdale as a tier II sex offender. A tier III classification would require Mays to register every 90 days for life, while tier I would require him to register once annually for 10 years.
Mays will not appear in an online sex offender registry, however, as is the case for adults, and he may seek to have the court reduce the classification to tier I or remove it altogether after serving a portion of his sentence.
Lipps again said he intends to authorize transferring Mays from the facility in which he is currently housed to Lifehouse Youth Center at Paint Creek in Bainbridge, Ohio. The judge lauded the Paint Creek facility's sex offender rehabilitation program. The Ohio Department of Youth Services must approve the transfer.
Ohio Assistant Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter argued to have Mays classified under the strictest classification, tier III.
Trial evidence revealed Mays joked about the alleged victim following the crime, which Hemmeter said showed his callous disregard for the Weirton girl. His unapologetic attitude during a recent interview with DYS personnel bordered on sociopathic, Hemmeter contended.
"Here's a smart boy, a good student, the quarterback of his football team, and when he's given an opportunity to say, 'I wish I could take back what I did,' he doesn't. He's still blaming the victim. That shows an absolute lack of remorse," Hemmeter added.
Hemmeter also brought up the nude pictures of the victim that Mays sent to others. There is no way to know how many people have seen that and other photos of the then-unresponsive girl, she asserted.
"For the rest of her life, she will have to go to places in public wondering if somebody there has seen her naked, passed out and in a very vulnerable position," Hemmeter said. "That will haunt her for the rest of her life."
The victim's mother, who was in the courtroom with several other members of the girl's family, also implored the judge to impose the tier III classification. She said the publicly shared pictures of her daughter have amounted to a life sentence for the girl.
"This will never leave my daughter. Therefore, it should never leave him," the girl's mother told Lipps.
Mays' attorney, Adam Nemann, lobbied for the most lenient tier I classification. He pointed to Mays' good behavior and multiple commendations he received from supervisors while incarcerated. Mays also stood and told the judge he is remorseful for the crime, although he may not show it.
Richmond, 16, of Steubenville also was scheduled to be classified in court Friday, but Lipps continued that hearing, according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The office did not disclose a reason for the continuance. Richmond's attorney, Walter Madison, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
A special grand jury empaneled to investigate whether other crimes were committed in the case will not resume hearing testimony on Monday as was scheduled, the Attorney General's Office announced Friday.