(ABC News) – A Steubenville, Ohio, high school football player has been released from a juvenile detention center less than a year after he was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party.
Ma’lik Richmond, 17, was released from the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility aftercompleting his sentence.
In a statement to ABC News, Richmond’s attorney Walter Madison said the youth had “reflected, learned, matured and grown in many ways” and was now a “better, stronger person looking forward to school, life and spending time with his family.”
In March 2013, Steubenville High School football players Ma’lik Richmond, then 16, and Trent Mays, 17, were both found delinquent – the juvenile court equivalent of guilty — of the digital penetration of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl at an alcohol-fueled party in Steubenville on the night of Aug. 11, 2012, as other teenagers watched. Digital penetration is legally defined as rape in Ohio and many other states.
Mays was also accused of later sending text messages that included photos of the girl naked and was slapped with an additional charge of distributing nude images of a minor.
Richmond was sentenced to one year in juvenile detention. Mays was sentenced to two years and remains in juvenile detention. The judge classified both teens as sex offenders.
The case, which was plagued with allegations that school officials and coaches participated in a cover-up, created a firestorm in the eastern Ohio mining community and garnered national attention partly because the events were widely shared on social media.
A grand jury investigation into the rape led to four school employees, including the school superintendent, being indicted on felony charges.
Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey faces three felony counts: one charge of tampering with evidence and two counts of obstructing justice. He also is charged with making a false statement and obstructing official business, both misdemeanors.
Elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman and wrestling coach Seth Fluharty were both were charged with misdemeanor failure to report child abuse.
Volunteer assistant Steubenville football coach Matt Belardine was charged with four misdemeanors: allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making a false statement and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.
All four adults pleaded not guilty to the charges and hearings are scheduled for later this month.