Ma'lik Richmond, the 17-year-old former football player convicted in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case for assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a high school party, was released early from a juvenile detention facility Monday. His one-year sentence was due up in March. The case was a controversial one: School officials were accused of covering up the football player's crime and tampering with evidence.
As Bustle reported at the time:
In March of this year, high schoolers Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at a football after party in August 2012. The rapists’ friends filmed the assault, and images of the attack were later disseminated on social media. Ever since Mays’ and Richmond’s convictions, the Ohio Attorney General’s office has been looking into allegations that school administrators were involved in covering up the assault, perhaps by failing to report it to law enforcement after hearing about it as required by state law.
Walter Madison, Richmond's attorney, released a statement saying that Richmond had "grown and matured" during his time in prison, which apparently makes him qualified to be released early on good behavior.
"The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma'lik and his extended family," attorney Walter Madison said in a statement.
"At sixteen years old, Ma'lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagine for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life …"
"He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family," the statement said.
Sorry, but what about the victim here? We're pretty sure that being the central figure of a rape trial isn't exactly the easiest "set of circumstances" — especially when your school's faculty favors a football player at the expense of brushing over your assault. It's great that there was some personal growth in a juvenile detention center — as there should be — but Richmond is hardly a hero because of it.
Trent Mays, the other football player convicted of rape in the case, is still in juvenile detention serving a two-year sentence. His extra year is tacked on because he shared images of the rape, which amounts to dissemination of child pornography.