Convicted ex-high school athlete wants off sex offender list

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Football Players Rape_1523899144736

FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2017, file photo, Ma’lik Richmond, center, of Steubenville, Ohio, and his attorney Susan Stone, left, walk out of U.S. District Court in Youngstown, Ohio. An Ohio judge has scheduled a Thursday, April 19, 2018, hearing about whether Richmond, a high school and college football player convicted as a juvenile […]

STEUBENVILLE, OH (WTRF) — Ma’Lik Richmond returned to Jefferson County juvenile court Thursday morning after filing a motion of declassification.

Richmond was found delinquent of one count of rape in the 2012 Steubenville rape case, and filed a motion to be taken off of the sex offenders registry.

“Since his release, Ma’Lik has done well reintegrating into the community. This court has done what it’s supposed to do. Given his rehabilitation, we’re asking for the termination of his Tier 1 juvenile sex offender classification,” said Ma’Lik’s attorney, Brooke Burns, Thursday in court.

Court Psychologist Dr. Thomas Gazley, who has met with and evaluated Ma’Lik before, took the stand to testify.

“Given the records, Ma’Lik has had no significant problems. He’s had good behavior, completed sex offender treatment, and reintegrated into the community with little problems. I believe, at this point, his sex offender risk is low,” said Dr. Gazley.

According to Dr. Gazley, “research shows the longer someones goes without offending sexually, the lower the risk of reoffending.”

Ma’Lik is currently registered as a Tier 1 juvenile sex offender. This requires him to register as an offender once a year for 10-years.

“I do not believe this registration lowers his risk,” said Dr. Gazley.

Attorney Angela Canepa, who is with the Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions team, argued that the registry is not “meant to rub Ma’Lik’s face in his past.”

The State then asked Judge Lipps to keep Richmond on the list because of the “impact and message to the community.”

“I would ask the court to have Ma’Lik continue to register until the 10 years has expired,” said Attorney Canepa.

Judge Thomas Lipps said that he will review the evidence presented, and documents from both sides of the case, and will make a decision by May 20th.

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