CONVICTED–Ma’lik Richmond, center, stands with his father, Nathaniel Richmond, left, and attorney Walter Madison after he and co-defendant Trent Mays, 17, were found guilty on rape and other charges after their trial in juvenile court in Steubenville, Ohio, Sunday, March 17. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, Pool)
by Andrew Welsh Huggins
AP Legal Affairs Writer
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A judge on Sunday convicted two members of Steubenville’s celebrated high school football team of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl, concluding a months-long ordeal for the victim and the accused, even though the case is far from over for the community.
Ohio’s attorney general immediately announced he’s investigating whether coaches, parents or other students broke the law by refusing to speak up. Among those his office has interviewed: revered head coach Reno Saccoccia and the owners of one of the houses where a party was held the night of the rape.
The case shocked many in this Rust Belt city because of the seeming callousness with which other students took out their cellphones to record the attack and gossiped about it online.
“Many of the things we learned during this trial that our children were saying and doing were profane, were ugly,” said Special Judge Thomas Lipps. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the tragedy of rape was compounded by social media attacks on the girl.
Steubenville High School students Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile prison, capping a case that came to light via a barrage of morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video. Mays was sentenced to an additional year in prison on a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, to be served after his rape sentence is completed.
The judge planned to subtract about two months for time the teens served in jail last fall.
The two teens broke down in tears after the verdict was read and prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter spoke of their lack of remorse. They later apologized to the victim and to the community. Both were emotional as they spoke, and Richmond struggled at times to talk through his sobs.
“My life is over,” Richmond said as he collapsed in the arms of his attorney after the verdict was announced. Later, he crossed the room to talk to relatives of the girl and her parish priest, but needed help from a court official as he struggled to compose himself.
Richmond’s father, Nathaniel, an ex-offender who blamed his own problems on alcohol, also asked that the victim’s family “forgive Malik and Trent for the pain they put you through.” Mays’ father, Brian, also apologized for his son’s actions.
“We would respectfully request that the community be supportive of not only the family of the young lady, but also the families of the young men who have been sentenced,” Mays’ attorneys said afterward.