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.