Judge removes Ma'lik Richmond from sex offender list

A judge has ordered that Youngstown State defensive end Ma'lik Richmond, who was convicted as a teen of raping a 16-year-old girl, should be taken off Ohio's sex offender registry for juveniles, as allowed by law.

Friday's ruling by Judge Thomas Lipps came in the case of the former Steubenville High School football player who was convicted in 2013 of raping a West Virginia girl the previous year during a party after a football scrimmage.

Richmond, now 21, served a one-year sentence and later rejoined the Steubenville football team. He initially was required to register his address as a sex offender every six months for 20 years.

In 2014, Lipps decreased Richmond's reporting requirement to once a year for 10 years. Ohio law allows juveniles to request removal altogether.

Richmond's attorneys argued that he had served his punishment, had completed all sex offender programming and is now a successful college student.

Lipps said that Richmond did everything required of him, including registering with the sheriff's office.

"He has demonstrated that he can live amongst society and no longer needs the supervision and restrictions necessary for Juvenile Sex Offender Registrants," Lipps said.

Prosecutors, who opposed removing Richmond from the registry, declined comment.

The 2012 case drew international attention because of the role social media played in publicizing the assault. There also were initial allegations of a cover-up by local authorities and frustration that more football players weren't charged, including some who witnessed the assaults.

Richmond was released from prison in January 2014 and attended colleges in West Virginia and Pennsylvania before transferring to Youngstown State in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore.

Richmond appeared in five games for the Penguins in 2017 and recorded five tackles. Richmond settled a lawsuit with the university in October that was filed after he had been told he wouldn't be allowed to play this season after he made the team. The settlement allowed Richmond to remain on the active roster.

As that controversy played out, Richmond's father, Nathaniel Richmond, was killed in August 2017 in an unrelated confrontation when he shot a judge in a courthouse parking lot and a probation officer returned fire. The judge had been overseeing a wrongful death lawsuit the father filed against a housing authority.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.