One of the Steubenville High School students convicted in a high-profile, March 2013 rape is now back on the football field.
Ma'Lik Richmond, 18, who, along with Trent Mays, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, has rejoined the roster of the Steubenville Big Red football team as a wide receiver, according to WTRF TV.
The case fueled an intense national debate about online bullying after hacker group Anonymous exposed photos and videos made the night girl was raped. The images showed two males carrying the inebriated victim by her wrists and ankles and other teens making jokes at the girl's expense.
Richmond's return to the football field is disappointing to Alexandria Goddard, a blogger credited with bringing national attention to the controversial rape case.
“I wanted to be shocked, but I think we all knew it was bound to happen,” Goddard 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.”
Richmond was sentenced to a year in a juvenile detention facility and was released in January.
As part of the conviction, Richmond must register as a sex offender every six months for the next 20 years. He can request to have the classification removed after completing rehabilitation, according to Time.com.
Although Richmond's attorney has attempted to get the sex offender classification dropped, the presiding judge has ruled that the sentence is contingent on behavior and rehabilitation while serving, WTRF TV reports.
Mays is still behind bars on a two-year sentence.
Numerous educators and officials have been accused of trying to cover up the original rape. In May, Steubenville superintendent Michael McVey, 51, was charged with felony counts of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, and misdemeanor counts of falsification and obstructing official business in relation to the case.
In April, volunteer football coach Matt Belardine was sentenced to 10 days in jail for one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking. His house was the scene of an underage drinking party that preceded the incident.
Also in April, wrestling coach Seth Fluharty was ordered to perform 20 hours of community as punishment for failing to report the rape.