Ma’lik Richmond, one of the Steubenville, Ohio, teens convicted for raping a 16-year-old girl in a case that rocked the nation, is back to playing football with his high school team after his release, the New York Daily News reports. The 18-year-old, one of two offenders involved in the horrific crime against the young girl during a 2012 party, served nine months in juvenile detention before his January release.
Steubenville’s head football coach said that Richmond had earned the spot. “I feel that we’re really not giving him a second chance. Some may look at it like that,” Reno Saccoccia told Columbus, Ohio, news station Fox 28, according to the Daily News. “I feel like he’s earned a second chance.”
Jefferson County Chief Probation Officer Fred Abdalla Jr.told another local station, WTRF, that no laws or rules were being broken in permitting the teen, who has to register every 180 days for the next 20 years of his life as a Tier II sex offender, to play.
“There’s no law against it that states he can’t play. There’s no OSHA rules that they’d be violating,” Abdalla said. “I think the boy should be allowed to play … Ma’lik Richmond has done everything that’s been asked of him from the court’s standpoint since he’s been sentenced.”
“Everything the judicial system of Ohio asked him to do, he completed. Everything the school system asked him to do upon his release, he completed—both academically and socially," Saccoccia said in defense of Richmond.
There is disappointment among many that the school did not use Richmond’s situation to speak out against rape, the Daily News notes.
Read more at the New York Daily News.