Speaking with WTOV-TV, Steubenville High School football coach Reno Saccoccia revealed that Ma’Lik Richmond returned to school in January and was suspended from extracurricular activities for the remainder of the year. Although he labeled what Richmond did a “horrible crime,” Saccoccia added that the athlete has completed everything asked of him by the judicial system.
“We don’t deal in death sentences for juvenile activity, and I just feel that he’s earned a second chance,” Saccoccia said.
Richmond’s return comes two years after he and Trent Mays, a fellow athlete, were adjudicated delinquent in the August 2012 assault on a underage West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party, the Associated Press reports.
News of the case spread internationally and eventually led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the football team. In addition, The AP noted how a grand jury investigating whether laws were broken in the case brought additional charges against six adults, including Steubenville’s then-superintendent Michael McVey. He and the district’s former technology director have pleaded not guilty to charges including evidence tampering and obstructing justice.
Charges against four other individuals involved in the incident have been resolved.
While Richmond was sentenced to one year in juvenile detention, Mays, who was also found guilty of using his phone to take a naked picture of the girl, was sentenced to two years. As a result, Richmond was classified as a Tier II sex offender last August. That means the now 18-year-old will have to register every six months for the next 20 years.
Unlike adult sex offenders, Richmond’s name won’t be included on publicly accessible websites, and he can request to have the classification removed later based on his rehabilitation, according to the AP.
Although he didn’t comment on Richmond’s status with the football team, his lawyer Walter Madison issued a written statement saying, that “Band, debate, and sports teams reinforce critical lessons meant to guide one throughout life.”
To see WTOV-TV’s report on the Ma’Lik Richmond case, check out the video below: