Teen Convicted in Steubenville Rape Returns Football Team

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Ma’lik Richmond, one of the two teens convicted in the Steubenville rape of a 16-year-old girl, is back on the high school football team.

“I feel that we’re really not giving him a second chance. Some may look at it like that,” Reno Saccoccia, Steubenville’s head football coach, told Columbus’ Fox 28. “I feel like he’s earned a second chance.”

Ma’ lik Richmond and quarterback Trent Mays were convicted in the case involving the rape of a 16-year-old girl at a August 2012 party. Richmond was found delinquent in March 2013 and served nine months in a juvenile detention facility before being released in January. Mays is still serving a two-year sentence. Richmond has to register as a Tier II sex offender every 180 days for 20 years, and Mays must do the same upon his release.

Despite the trouble Richmond was involved in, the school has allowed the student back on the field to practice as the team’s wide receiver.

When contacted for comment, Jefferson County Chief Probation Officer Fred Abdalla Jr. told WTRF News, “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.”

While Richmond is fully eligible to return to Steubenville’s football team, some believe that this was an opportunity for the school to make a statement by taking a stand against rape culture. Alexandra Goddard, a blogger who is credited to bringing attention to the case, said the decision to re-instate Richmond was not a surprise.

“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,” she wrote in an email to Buzzfeed.

Steubenville High School, who are nine-time state champions, opens its season on August 28. Richmond has been practicing as the team’s wide receiver.

(Photo Credit: Twitter)