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Teen rapist of girl, 16, 'better person' after completing sentence

Jan. 6, 2014 at 4:53 PM   |   Comments

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The attorney for a teenage girl raped in Ohio said Monday a statement issued by her attacker's lawyer after the boy's release from custody is "disheartening."

An attorney for convicted sex offender Ma'lik Richmond said in a statement Monday his client had "recently completed his designated time" in a juvenile facility, and that "the past 16 months have been extremely challenging for Ma'lik and his extended family," WTOV-TV in Steubenville reported.

Richmond and fellow student-athlete Trent Mays were convicted last March of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl at a Steubenville party in August 2012. Richmond was sentenced to one year in a juvenile facility. Mays, who also was convicted of a second charge, received a two-year sentence.

"While away, Ma'lik has reflected, learned, matured and grown in many ways," the statement added. "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."

The statement was slammed by the victim's attorney, Bob Fitzgibbons.

"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," Fitzgibbons said. "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."

Richmond will be required to register as a sex offender every six months for the next 20 years. The designation can be removed if he demonstrates he has been rehabilitated.

An elementary school principal is scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in a separate case involving Steubenville High School students, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Lynnett Gorman, principal of West Elementary School, faces a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect in connection with the reported rape of a 14-year-old girl by Steubenville High School baseball players in April 2012.

Gorman is among five adults charged for their roles in the two rape investigations. No one has been charged with assaulting the 14-year-old in the April 2012 incident.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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