An Ohio judge classifies Ma'lik Richmond as a tier II sex offender
Trenton Mays, who was convicted in the same case, got the same classification
Both teens were found guilty of rape in a case that divided their community
Cell phone pictures, social media posts helped bring national attention to case
A Steubenville, Ohio, teenager was classified as a sex offender on Friday, six months after he and a fellow high school football player were convicted of raping a drunk 16-year-old girl, a court official said.
Judge Thomas Lipps on Friday classified Ma’lik Richmond as a tier II sex offender, Jefferson County, Ohio, juvenile court administrator Joe Colabella said.
This is the same status – between a less restrictive tier I and a more serious tier III – that Trenton Mays, who was convicted in the same case, received in June.
Under his new classification, Richmond is required to report to his local sheriff’s office every six months for the next 20 years.
In March, Richmond and Mays – who were 16 and 17, respectively, at the time – were convicted after a trial that divided the football-crazed Rust Belt town of Steubenville.
Lurid text messages, social media posts, as well as cell phone pictures and videos helped raise the national profile of the case, which revolved around Richmond and Mays’ actions during a series of end-of-summer parties in August 2012. It attracted the attention of bloggers, who questioned everything from the behavior of the football team to the integrity of the investigation.
At the heart of the case was the question of whether the victim, who testified she remembered little, was too drunk to understand what was happening to her and to consent.
Defense attorneys questioned the victim’s credibility, as well as whether media coverage of the case tainted testimony.
Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter agreed the girl was “substantially impaired,” before adding, “The things that made her an imperfect witness – that she doesn’t remember a lot – made her, in every sense of the word, a perfect victim.”
Lipps, a visiting juvenile judge from another Ohio county, ultimately made the verdict in the case, which was not tried before a jury.
Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile correctional facility. Mays, who was additionally found guilty of disseminating a nude photo of a minor, got two years.
The Department of Youth Services will rule whether the two boys will be detained even longer than those prescribed sentences, Lipps said, adding it will depend on their behavior and rehabilitation.