Steubenville player convicted of rape returns to team

One of two Steubenville High School football players who were convicted of rape that happened during the onset of the 2012 season has been readmitted to the team.

Ma’lik Richmond, 18, has been released from juvenile detention and has rejoined the Big Red football team, according to media outlets. He and former teammate Trent Mays were found guilty of rape following an August 2012 party in which a 16-year-old West Virginia girl had passed out and was assaulted.

The case rocked the community and drew national attention from victim advocates.

The two males teens weren’t the only ones to face charges:

  • Steubenville superintendent Michael McVey could face six years imprisonment if he’s found guilty of tampering with evidence.
  • Former assistant football coach Matthew Belardine faces two years imprisonment for allowing underage drinking and obstructing official business. It was his house that the party occurred.
  • Teachers Seth Fluharty and Lynett Gorman face 30 days in jail if found guilty of failing to report child abuse or neglect.

All those charges were secured by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. At least some of the charges against McVey are the result of a second alleged rape in April 2012 by Steubenville baseball players at a coach’s house. The alleged victim has since recanted the claim and said it was consensual sex.

Posted photos and video of the August 2012 rape have centered attention on how social media played a role in instigating the act and prosecuting it.

May, 17 when he was convicted, is still in detention. He also was found guilty of sending nude photos of the girl.

Located in Jefferson County near the West Virginia border and on the Ohio River, Steubenville football has been the pride of a community that has been hard hit first by the decline of the steel industry in the 1980s and by the recent recession.

According to a 2010 census, Steubenville’s poverty rate was 27.5 percent. From 1980-2000, it also was found to be part of an area that had the most urban demographic decline in the United States.

Despite those dismal numbers, Big Red football has flourished. Steubenville has won three state football championships, including consecutive titles in 2005-06. The Big Red was 9-5 last season, losing to Youngstown Mooney in the Division IV state semifinals. Steubenville was 9-3 in the 2012 season.