Ma'lik Richmond, the Steubenville high school student who was convicted of the rape of a 16-year-old high school student that set off a national firestorm, was released from a juvenile detention center over the weekend after serving less than one year for his crime.
In March 2013, Richmond, then a 16-year-old student, was sentenced to a one-year term for the rape, which occurred in August 2012. “Richmond was found delinquent on one count of rape and sentenced to a minimum of one year in juvenile detention,” according to Ohio local news station WTRF. The judge in the case, however, ruled that the Richmond’s sentence was “contingent on behavior and rehabilitation progress while serving,” according to WTRF. Jefferson County Judge Thomas Lipps gave Richmond Ohio's second-toughest sex offender classification, meaning that he “must register as a sex offender every six months for 20 years,” according to the Associated Press. Richmond, who was 16-years-old at the time of the rape, can have his classification as a sex offender lifted, and his name removed from public websites, based on his rehabilitation, the AP reports.
Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, released this statement on Sunday on behalf of Richmond.
"Ma'Lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma'Lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma'Lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagination for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life. As with each other obstacle, Ma'Lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; he is braced for the balance of his life. While away, Ma'Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways. He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family. At this point, Ma'Lik wants most to be a high school teenager. In conjunction with his release, Ma'Lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma'Lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, Thank you."
The victim's attorney, Robert Fitzsimmons, released this statement about Richmond’s release on behalf of the victim:
"Although everyone hopes convicted criminals are rehabilitated, it is disheartening that this convicted rapist's press release does not make a single reference to the victim and her family - whom he and his co-defendant scarred for life. One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself. Rape is about victims, not defendants. Obviously, the people writing his press release have yet to learn this important lesson."