STEUBENVILLE -Ma'Lik Richmond, one of two juveniles convicted in the Steubenville rape case, has been released from an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility.
In March of last year, Richmond, 17, and Trent Mays, 17, were found guilty of rape in connection with an incident involving an underage girl on Aug. 11-12, 2012. Mays also was found guilty of a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly having a picture of the 16-year-old victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone.
Visiting Judge Tom Lipps sentenced Richmond and Mays to spend at least one year in an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility, or until they turned 21 years old. He ordered Mays to spend at least one year in the youth center for illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
Lipps said he believed the actions of Mays was more "egregious" and ordered the sentences be consecutive, resulting in Mays serving a minimum of two years.
Richmond was classified as a Tier II sex offender in August and will be required to report to the county sheriff where he is living every six months for the next 20 years. Lipps in June ruled that Mays also is classified as a Tier II sex offender.
Mays was placed in the Paint Creek Light House Youth Center, a privately run Department of Youth Services facility in Bainbridge, upon the recommendation of Lipps. The judge said the facility has "excellent" programs for juvenile sex offenders.
Richmond never made a request to the placed in the Paint Creek Light House Center.
Walter Madison, Richmond's attorney, released the following statement on behalf of his client:
"Ma'lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past 16 months have been extremely challenging for Ma'lik and his extended family. At 16 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 in conjunction with his release, Ma'lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma'lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, thank you."
Bob Fitzsimmons of Wheeling, who represents the victim in the case, said he was disappointed with the statement.
"Although everyone hopes convicted criminals are rehabilitated, it is disheartening that this convicted rapist's press release does not make a single reference to the victim and her family - whom he and his co-defendant scarred for life.
"One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself. Rape is about victims, not defendants. Obviously, the people writing his press release have yet to learn this important lesson," Fitzsimmons commented.