Local businessman Mark Nelson asked Steubenville City Council to make a public statement Tuesday regarding Ma'Lik Richmond being allowed to play football for Steubenville High School, two years after he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at an underage drinking party.
Council members did not respond to Nelson's request, made during the public forum held at the conclusion of Tuesday's council meeting.
"I am asking council to draft a statement because the world looks at Steubenville and doesn't see a public outcry. Some of us are outraged because the school district is not handling the situation properly," Nelson said. "The school district lowered the bar to accept someone who committed a crime against a woman. What does this say about the team and its players? This is especially grievous when it makes the national and international news.
"The school district decision was not well thought out and I encourage the city to make a statement to the world that we all don't feel this way," Nelson added.
Richmond, who is a senior this year, and co-defendant Trent Mays were convicted in juvenile court in March 2013 of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Weirton girl during a series of parties on Aug. 12, 2012. Mays was sentenced to 2 years in a Department of Youth Services facility, while Richmond was sentenced to a 1 in a state youth detention center and was released in January.
Mays and Richmond were classified as Tier II sex offenders, requiring them to report their addresses to the sheriff in the county where they live every six months for 20 years.
"Ma'Lik has done everything the school system has asked and has done everything the juvenile court system has asked and he deserves a second chance," said interim Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Melinda Young on Tuesday.
Young replaced former Superintendent Mike McVey, who was indicted in November by a special grand jury for allegedly deleting computer information and lying about the school's investigation into the August 2012 rape. His trial is set for October.