STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Ma'lik Richmond, one of two Steubenville high school football players convicted of raping a teenage girl at a house party in 2012, is back on the team's roster after being released from prison three months early.
In March 2013, Richmond was found delinquent of raping a 16-year-old girl and sentenced to a year in prison. Despite his early release in January 2014, Richmond must continue to register as a Tier II sex offender every 180 days for 20 years.
Richmond's attorney attempted to have the sex offender classification dropped, but in June the 7th District Court of Appeals upheld the designation. Trent Mays, who was also convicted, remains in prison and will also have to register as a Tier II sex offender upon his release.
On Monday, Ohio Valley sports reporter for WTRF Mike Anthony tweeted a picture of Richmond at football practice, participating in what appears to be a special teams drill.
Senior Ma'lik Richmond returns to the Big Red lineup in a deep corp of WRs/LBs#RollRedRoll pic.twitter.com/hgBb6gR6wT— Mike Anthony (@MAnthonyWTRF) August 11, 2014
The tweet almost instantly reignited controversy, and drew attention back to the small Rust Belt city.
@MAnthonyWTRF Apparently roll red roll is all that matters in steubenville. You and your community make me sick.— Scott Mazelis (@MazDiesel) August 12, 2014
@MAnthonyWTRF you should delete this tweet and issue a public apology. Being excited a sex offender is eligible for your HS team is gross...— Ben (@other_dude) August 12, 2014
Steubenville put a rapist back on the football team. They also put a list of all their games online. Expect us. http://t.co/EVVtCfg6DZ— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) August 11, 2014
"There's no law against it that states he can't play," Jefferson County Chief Probation Officer Fred Abdalla Jr. told local reporters.
"There's no law against it that states he can't play. There's no OHSA rules that they'd be violating, then I think the boy should be allowed to play. Malik Richmond has done everything the court has asked him since he's been sentenced."
"I wanted to be shocked, but I think we all knew it was bound to happen," Alexandria Goddard, the journalist widely credited with bringing the 2012 incident into the national eye, said in an email to BuzzFeed.
"Steubenville City Schools hasn't really done a lot in the past two years to prove to the world that they don't tolerate rape culture and allowing a Tier II registered sex offender on the team pretty much solidifies the assumption that they are concerned about wins rather than the safety of young girls or the destruction of rape culture in their area."