One of the teens convicted in the rape of a Steubenville girl has been released from a juvenile detention facility.
Ma’lik Richmond was found delinquent on one count of rape in March and sentenced to at least one year in a juvenile detention center, but he was released after just nine months on good behavior.
His co-defendant, Trent Mays, was also found delinquent on one count of rape and sentenced to an additional year for illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material that must be served after his rape sentence is completed.
The pair had been accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated girl at a party in August 2012, and video of the attack was circulated on social media.
The school superintendent, a volunteer football coach and two school employees have been indicted in connection with the case, which drew international attention after the hacker group “Anonymous” pushed for authorities to prosecute the case.
Richmond must register as a sex offender every six months for 20 years after his release.
But, unlike adult offenders, his name will not be included on publicly accessible websites, and he may request to have to classification removed later based on his rehabilitation.
Richmond’s family issued a statement Sunday through an attorney, saying the past 16 months had been difficult for them.
“He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life,” the statement read. “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.”
But the victim’s attorney noted the family’s statement made no mention of the girl who was assaulted.
“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,” said attorney Robert Fitzsimmons. “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.”
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