An Ohio judge Sunday sentenced two teenage boys to at least a year in a juvenile detention facility after finding them guilty of raping a classmate in a closely watched trial that hinged on text messages, tweets and pictures shared online and among the defendants and their friends.
Judge Thomas Lipps’ sentence means Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, could remain in detention until the age of 21. Mays, who was also convicted of using nudity-oriented material involving a minor, for having pictures of the girl on his cellphone, was sentenced to an additional year in detention.
The sentence followed a brief but emotional verdict reading that was punctuated by sobs from both boys. Their attorneys, who had said the sexual acts were consensual, also wept. Relatives and family members, and the defendants, appealed for leniency.
“I’m aware that this is the first time they have been in trouble with the law, but these are serious charges,” Lipps said in announcing his sentence. He noted that had they been charged as adults rather than in juvenile court, they would have been spending “many years” in an adult prison.