WHEELING, W.Va. — One of the two Steubenville, Oh. High School football players who sexually assaulted a Weirton girl two years ago has returned to school and to the Big Red team.

Ma’Lik Richmond, 18, is back on the roster eight months after being released from a juvenile detention center where he served ten months of a year-long sentence for the crime.  Some of what happened to the victim, then 16, on the night of Aug. 12, 2012 when she was intoxicated and unresponsive was captured in cell phone photos and circulated via social media.

Bob Fitzsimmons, a Wheeling attorney who represented the girl who was raped along with her family members, told MetroNews Tuesday his focus remained on the victim.

“Rape is a terrible, terrible crime and we need more education. We need more enforcement. We need more women coming forward to spread that message,” Fitzsimmons said. “These are the side stories or the collateral stories, but the real story in this case is about her and her family and what they’ve endured.”

MetroNews does not identify sexual assault victims or survivors unless they come forward publicly.

Fitzsimmons said the victim, now 18, graduated high school with honors and is preparing for college. “”Hopefully, this won’t affect her going forward any more than it already has,” he said. “She’s a wonderful kid and her family is just one of the closest families that I’ve ever been associated with.”

As part of his sentence, Richmond will have to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years.

His co-defendant, Trent Mays, is still serving a two-year long sentence in a juvenile detention center. Both were found delinquent for the sexual assault in March 2013.

“Juvenile laws are designed to try to rehabilitate people. In fact, all of our criminal sentencing laws are designed with an earmark, in addition to punishment, for rehabilitation. But, with juveniles, the emphasis is a little bit more on the rehabilitation,” Fitzsimmons said.

On Tuesday, Richmond and the other members of the Steubenville High School Big Red football team were part of a scrimmage against Cambridge.

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  • jay zoom

    convicted sex offenders on school property be in Ohio or wherever I thought there was a law against that. Sounds to me like there promoting the schools athletic program and the boys future down the road if he will have one and the hell with the victim. and to you (lee) would u blame your daughter providing you have one with the same post you submitted today. ?????

  • lee

    You all do understand that the girl put herself in danger by being a drunken party girl and should carry part of the blame.

    • Dumb Liberals

      She's a piece of trash with no moral turpitude or self respect, it appears, and mommy and daddy can’t be much better. It’s no excuse that she was attached by this scum, but it would have never happen had she not put herself in the situation to start with. Keep blaming everyone else in hopes her halo doesn’t tarnish.

    • Chef Camille

      Come on since when is sexual assault a factor when you take advantage of an intoxicated youth or for that matter anyone under the influence?

    • Jack

      I don't think anyone should blame the 16 year old girl who was attacked.

    • Joe

      You bet, Coach.

  • Pathetic

    First, how can a registered sex offender be allowed to enroll in school? Thought sex offender degenerates couldn't be within "X" feet of a school? Second, this shouldn't shock anyone. This little nowhere of a place showed from the moment of the crime that protecting their precious high school football program was more important than bringing the guilty to justice. What a pathetic, loserville of a place.

  • Kelly

    He looks like a tough guy. Probably comes from a family of HUD-living entitlement receiving tough guys.

  • Dumb Liberals

    Inner city urbanite thug returns to previous lifestyle! Guess his life-skills are incomplete. What's next after rape? Murder maybe?

    Need to put his mug shot in the program. After all, it will be a "capture the moment" during his continual DoC life.

  • BIM Job

    Wow! This speaks volumes regarding the character of the school administration and the coaching staff.

    Unbelievably poor judgement on behalf of the school officials. I hope there have been some major protective steps taken to ensure this young man will never be in a position where he could hurt another girl.

    I can tell you it would be a bad day for all involved if he were to hurt another girl, especially one of mine. Heads would roll, literally.

  • TruthTeller

    Here is the real 25,000 dollar question? This is in Ohio. Why is this even published here? I regretfully live in Ohio and people in Ohio want nothing to do with West Virginia people and you seldom ever hear any news about anyone from West Virginia in Ohio. The hate over here is so bad that I can't place a flying WV on my car or
    wear any of my WVU clothing or I hear insults
    and the usual belittlement from all the Buckyeye

    • Jerry

      Screw Stupidville people! I have friends who live in other parts of Ohio and have no issues with WV. This arm pit town will reap more than football wins once his story gets out. I wish these idiots the worst.

  • Sad

    But lets face it... the kid probably won't have a life outside of Steubenville where he is idolized. Who would hire him outside that cult of a town?

  • Chef Camille

    Apparently he did serve his punishment for the crime. How can you not allow him to continue his life. It's a shame that it revolves around High School Football. The next step will be when WVU offers him a scholarship and all then will be forgiven.

  • James

    Unbelievable. I guess football or sports in lieu of morals, good character, integrity and standards mean more to Stupidville, Ohio. Must be a huge consensus by those in power to allow this type offender to be part of a school team. You would have thought he would have been banned forever. Simply astounding.

  • DJ

    Last week I learned a sex offender had been living next door to me and my family for the past 8 months. Needless to say his targeted age range was within that of my 'lil boy. I can proudly say he moved out the next day after being confronted.
    WV needs to do a better job monitoring where these offenders live. Some states are so pro active they make the offender mail out post cards with their photos to all the poeple living within a certain radius alerting of their presence. Here in WV all one has to do is register as an offender. The public needs to know of these persons where about. Within four houses next time mine lives at least 10 kids, 6 of them being within his targeted age group.

    • Randy

      Would this by any chance be the Washington state offender? We had one about 7 houses away who left the day after being confronted. But his church just moved him to another neighborhood.

      • Randy

        The person I'm talking about is now on the 300 block of View Ave in Fairmont. I'm not suggesting anyone target anyone on the list, but people need to check the registry just to be informed. I understand they have to live somewhere, but neighbors need to be aware.

  • Joe

    Steubenville isn't hell, but you can almost see it from there.

  • the flying dutchman

    whats next...team captain? if this wasnt so sad..it would be laughable...a student, convicted of sexual assualt being allowed to play on the high school football team!! what am i missing? arguably, he's paid a price by going to a juvenile detention center, but some crimes such as this one rise to a higher level. did anyone in the community consider the effect on the victim this would have? i dont think she have a warm and fuzzy feeling when the crowd cheer stands and cheers for her attacker..wheeling..where did your conscience go? never mind, its rhetorical...we all know you cant lose something you never had.

  • Jason412

    Wow. As a former Steubenville resident, I don't know why this surprises me but it does. The town has nothing going for it, so it makes sense why resident's are so enthralled by the team and their success and are quite die-hard in their support. But to let someone convicted of sexually assaulting a high school girl to re-join the high school football team is just unbelievable and unheard of.

    This incident exposed some of the corruption in Steubenville politics and school sports but the grand jury didn't dig deep enough.

    Steubenville is better than this.

    • The bookman

      I know people from Steubenville. Steubenville is JUST like this. Kid who has ruined his life scoring TD's on Friday night. Idolized! Steubenville! Pitiful!

  • bill

    how can the other parents of this team stand for this loser to be on their kids team. To take advantage of a intoxicated passed out female is one of lowest things a person can do. Has pro athlete behavior trickled to the high school ranks. Oh, here's a slap on the wrist don't do it again.

    • Jim

      Most everyone in Stubenville are losers so that is probably why.