Created on Friday, 16 August 2013 Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS,AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A high school football player convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer is scheduled for a hearing to determine the sex offender classification he'll receive.
The hearing for Ma'Lik Richmond in Steubenville in eastern Ohio on Friday was delayed earlier this summer while his attorney unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the sex offender labeling process.
The options before Judge Thomas Lipps in Jefferson County Juvenile Court range from requiring Richmond to report to authorities every 90 days for life to once a year for 10 years.
Unlike adult sex offenders, however, Richmond's name won't be included on publicly accessible websites. And he can request to have the sex offender classification removed later based on his history of rehabilitation.
In June, Lipps ordered that Richmond's co-defendant, Trent Mays, report to a local sheriff every six months for 20 years. He can also have the classification removed later, and his name won't appear on publicly accessible websites.
Lipps also agreed with a request from Mays' attorneys that the teen be transferred from Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility near Cleveland to a southern Ohio facility that works with sex offenders.
Lipps found both teens guilty in March of raping the girl. He also found Mays guilty of using his phone to take a picture of the underage girl naked.
Richmond was sentenced to at least one year for raping the girl, while Mays was sentenced to at least two.
The case drew international attention because of the role of texting and social media in exposing the attack and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the celebrated Steubenville High School football team. A grand jury is considering whether other people broke the law in connection with the case by not alerting authorities to initial reports of the rape.
At the time of their conviction and sentencing in March, Lipps recommended both boys be assigned to the Paint Creek facility, which he said has a strong program for treating juvenile sex offenders.
The privately-operated center is an open campus where staff members rely on their relationship with residents to prevent escapes, according to the Department of Youth Services.
Staff and children live together at the facility, which has shown success in keeping teens treated there from committing new crimes.