One of the two Steubenville teens convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl is back on the high school football team.
In March 2013, Ma’lik Richmond was found delinquent of rape, which is the juvenile court equivalent of guilty. He was released from a state juvenile detention center earlier this year and now is listed on the Steubenville High School Big Red football team rooster.
“There’s no law against it that states he can’t play. There’s no OHSA rules that they’d be violating, then I think the boy should be allowed to play. Malik Richmond has done everything the court has asked him since he’s been sentenced,” Jefferson County Chief Probation Officer Fred Abdalla Jr. told WTRF.
Richmond is a tier II sex offender and must register every 180 days for 20 years.
Fellow football player Trent Mays is still serving time at a juvenile detention facility for the August 2012 sexual assault.
The case gained national attention after drawing the interest of the hacker group Anonymous.
A special grand jury indicted four others in the case, including the school district superintendent. In April of this year, former volunteer football coach Matthew Belardine was found guilty of allowing underage drinking at the party attended by the 16-year-old victim and her two attackers.
Here’s what cleveland.com readers are saying about Richmond being permitted to play high school football again:
Any self-respecting parent of a Steubenville High School student should boycott their football games on an ongoing basis until this kid is kicked off the team for good.
Ma’lik Richmond serving 10 month in a Juvenile Detention Center for the crime of rape and then being allowed to resume his life and position on the high school football team, as if nothing had happened, is not Justice being served.
If a teacher or coach had been convicted of even a much less heinous crime they would not even be allowed back at the school let alone allowed to be associated with the football team.
Those saying Richmond served his time and should be allowed a second chance are correct to a point. Once convicted of rape, and after serving a sentence, a person is given a chance to rebuild their life. But, that future life will includes many restrictions Not being allowed to participate in high school athletics should be one of those restrictions. After serving a sentence, life for a convicted rapist should not go back to the way it was before. Life for the victim of that convicted rapist will never be the same again.
Having a convicted rapist and a registered sex offender represent a high school as a member of the football team is a horrible message to send to teenage girls and even teenage boys.
John in Columbus:
Giving a young man a pathway-back to rejoin the rest of us isn’t a horrible thing. He’s 18 years old with arguably another 60, maybe 70 years left on this earth. How do we expect he’ll conduct himself if we shun him, deny him, castigate him – for the rest of his life? I hope you don’t expect that he’ll act normally under those circumstances?
He’s got a better chance of living his life in a dignified fashion if we allow him to do-so. That’s not an endorsement of what he did nor a mockery of the young woman he victimized. It’s simply a recognition of the reality that say’s he’s out of jail now folks. He has served the time that the justice system gave him.
Moving on is not a sign of weakness or capitulation. It’s not the same as forgetting. The alternative to moving on is to remain trapped in our own prisons about what the young man did.
The kid was involved in a crime that was so heinous that he must wear a brand– sex offender– for the next 20 years. Now, the school district will turn the blind eye to the past? This nation’s priorities are on its ear when they are drug testing athletes in many districts, and refusing them a place on the team, if they have 15 ng of weed in their pee, but rape, OK you’re in. These kids are paying a price in society–reputation, jail time, civil damages??– but they should also lose all access to school facilities and programs. I am appalled that they can attend school with other minors, being sex offenders. How can the district cover the liability of letting them attend? Hey, I’m all for allowing people to heal and right the wrongs of the past, but these are sex crimes.
I don’t feel the punishment was harsh enough for the crime of ruining this girl’s life. However, both young men have paid/paying their debt to society, and entitled to resume their lives.
Ohio has provisions for in-home schooling and they should never be allowed anywhere near any school….let alone play high school sports. That is just plain wrong.
The Coach, the Athletic Director, and the School Board should all be very ashamed of themselves……. Our priorities in this society are completely backwards.
Why would they want these criminals associated with their team and school? How embarrassing for that community! People should lose access to normal privileges like being part of a football team when they commit such horrible acts.