Steubenville Teens Found Guilty Of Rape; State To Consider Charges Against Others
Two members of the high school football team in Steubenville are headed to juvenile jail for at least a year.
A judge today found 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma'Lik Richmond guilty of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last August.
The teens and their attorneys wiped away tears, and members of their families began to cry as the verdict was read in court on Sunday.
Both boys addressed the court and apologized for their behavior.
"I would truly like to apologize to (the victim), her family, my family and the community,” Trent Mays said. Those pictures should not have been sent around. Let alone even taken"
Ma'Lik walked over to the victim's parents to apologize, but failed to keep his emotions in and could barely speak.
"I had no intention of doing anything like that and I'm sorry to put you guys through this,” Ma’Lik said before collapsing into the arms of Jefferson County’s Chief Probation Officer
Trent's Father, Ma'Lik's father and Ma'Lik's guardian all apologized to the victim's family and asked the judge for leniency.
But Trent was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a juvenile correctional facility.
Ma'Lik was sentenced to a minimum of one year.
Both could be held until the age of 21.
Ma'Lik's father said his son made poor choices that night, but he doesn't believe he is guilty of rape.
"As to the evidence brought out at the time of the alleged sexual contact was taking place, Malik was in a different room sleep,” said Nathaniel Richmond
The victim's attorney said her parents have forgiven the boys.
He said the victim is still working on it.
"The remorse did come late in my opinion and this thing may not have happen had somebody approached the family in the beginning," said Bob Fitzsimmons
But Fitzsimmons says the victim has decided she will move past this.
Activist groups have questioned why people who knew about the rape weren't charged under state law requiring people to report crimes.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said Sunday "this community desperately needs to have this behind them but this community also desperately needs to know justice was done and that no stone was left unturned."
DeWine announced after the verdict and sentencing that he recommended a Grand Jury to be called to bring finality to the case.
"We’ve gathered a lot of evidence, but we cannot put this to bed. We cannot bring finality to this without the convening of the grand jury. We have 16 witnesses who would not talk with us. This community desperately needs to have this behind them, but this community also desperately needs to know that justice has been done … and no stone has been left unturned," DeWine said on Sunday.
DeWine said that possible charges could result from the Grand Jury. Failure to report a felony and tampering with evidence are two possible charges, he said.