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A judge ruled Friday that one of two Steubenville football players convicted of rape has to register has a Tier II sex offender.
The hearing was for Trent Mays, 17. The hearing for his co-defendant, Ma’Lik Richmond was continued.
Under the Tier II classification, Mays must register with the sheriff’s office every 180 days for the next 20 years.
The victim’s mother wanted Mays to register as tier III offender because of the permanent damage he caused the victim.
“When he is given the opportunity to say ‘you know what? I wish I could take back what I did,’ he doesn’t. He still blames the victim. That shows an absolute lack of remorse. That speaks volumes as why he needs to start out as tier 3,” said Mariane Hemmeter, assistant Ohio Attorney General.
Anthony D’Apolito, a magistrate wtith Mahoning County Juvenile Court, t said a judge can look at a number of things when determining a classification, including the offense, the facts of it and the age of the offender.
“They were found to have drugged this young lady to lower her defenses and that probably played into the higher classification of tier II versus a tier I,” D’Apolito said.
He said the tiers are strict and give the courts little wiggle room. Mays can ask the judge to review the classification.
“The only thing the judge can do is drop this down from a tier II to a tier I. In other words, he can’t take this person off the requirement of registering, he can only make it lowered,” D’Apolito said.
The Office of the Ohio Public Defender said Mays’ name won’t appear on the electronic sexual offender registration and notification maintained by the attorney general’s office, but he will have to register with the county sheriff.
The judge also approved Mays’ transfer from his current juvenile facility to Paint Creek, which is a rehabilitation facility for young sex offenders.
Lipps sentenced Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, to time in the juvenile detention system in March. He convicted them of raping the West Virginia girl after an August party celebrating a successful football team scrimmage. Richmond was sentenced to at least one year for raping the girl, while Mays was sentenced to at least two for raping her and taking a picture of the underage girl naked.
The case received international attention because of the role of texting and social media in exposing the attack. 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 the boys be assigned to Lighthouse Youth Center-Paint Creek in Chillicothe, a facility 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.
Both Paint Creek and state officials conduct face-to-face meetings with young people and review their records in state facilities whenever determining placement, said Youth Services spokeswoman Kim Parsell, adding that all state juvenile facilities “are able to meet the unique needs of youth.” She has declined to comment specifically on the hearing or Mays’ and Richmond’s case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.