Fans in the stands of Steubenville High School football games this fall will be cheering on a convicted sex offender and rapist, as Ma’lik Richmond is officially back on the school team, the Big Red.
Richmond, 18, was one of the student athletes (along with Trent Mays) convicted of rape in March 2013 in connection with the August 2012 rape of a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in a case that made national headlines, caused a stir on social media, and created a severe divide in the community in which it took place.
Richmond, a Senior, was let out of juvenile detention center this past January after spending 10 months in custody in connection with the sex offense; as such, he’s been designated a Tier II sex offender, a status he fought and lost in court. (As such, his image won’t be listed online in a sex offender registry, and he can eventually have it taken off if he’s determined to have been properly rehabilitated.)
Richmond told 20/20 this past January, “I realize I was doing wrong by drinking and partying, but I didn’t rape anybody. I didn’t witness a rape going on — if I had thought somebody was being raped, I would have stopped it.”
As we previously reported, the incident and subsequent fallout had a number of trickle-down effects in the sports town, with full investigations launched against school officials in connection with an alleged cover-up to protect the program and its’ standout players.