Special grand jury to reconvene Monday

STEUBENVILLE – A rape of a 16-year-old Weirton girl that happened one year ago on Monday will be the focus this week of a continuing special grand jury and a hearing for one defendant in Jefferson County Juvenile Court.

A special grand jury called for by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is scheduled to meet Monday. The grand jury has met only seven days since it was seated on April 15.

DeWine said he wants all aspects of the case to be investigated, including the possibility of charges being filed against others for knowledge of the rape and failing to report it.

Retired Juvenile Judge Tom Lipps found Trent Mays, 17, of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville delinquent of rape in March in connection with an incident on the night of Aug. 11-12. Mays also was found delinquent of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for having a picture of the victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone.

Mays was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a Department of Youth Services facility. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a state youth detention center.

Lipps in June ruled that Mays is a Tier II sex offender requiring him to report his address to the sheriff of the county where he lives every 180 days for 20 years.

Mays was permitted to go to a private detention center that Lipps said has a specialized sex-offender treatment program.

Richmond will be in court at 10:30 a.m. Friday for a hearing to determine whether he can be sent to the same facility as Mays.

Lipps said he has to make the sexual offender classification hearing prior to Richmond being released from the secure Department of Youth Services facility and sent to the private, non-secure treatment center that is currently treating Mays.

Lipps also ruled on several motions filed by Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison.

Madison had filed a motion to close the sexual offender classification hearing but Lipps refused, saying Madison has twice been denied closure requests.

Lipps also overruled Madison’s constitutionality challenge of the sex offender ranking for juveniles, saying the appellate courts and Ohio Supreme Court have ruled the sexual classification system for both adults and juveniles do not violate the constitution.

Madison also argued that juvenile courts cannot have jurisdiction over a juvenile past a 21st birthday. Lipps said the state Legislature specifically excepted juvenile sexual classifications and registration orders from the age 21 termination.

Madison asked Lipps to delay the sexual offender hearing for Richmond, but Lipps denied that request stating Richmond is subject to the sexual offender classification and registration.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)