A high school football player convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer was given the state’s second-toughest sex offender classification at a Friday hearing.
The decision by Judge Thomas Lipps at Jefferson County Juvenile Court in Steubenville means Trent Mays could have to report to a local sheriff every six months for 20 years.
Unlike adult sex offenders, however, Mays’ name won’t be included on publicly accessible websites. And he can request to have the sex offender classification removed later based on his history of rehabilitation.
Lipps also agreed Friday with a request from Mays’ attorneys that the teen be transferred from Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility near Cleveland to a southern Ohio facility that works with sex offenders.
One of Mays’ attorneys said after the hearing he will ask Lipps to release Mays from state custody if he successfully completes the program at Lighthouse Youth Center-Paint Creek in Chillicothe.
That would be a departure from the two-year sentence that Lipps handed Mays in March when he convicted the teen of raping the West Virginia girl. Mays, 17, also was convicted of using his phone to take a photo of the naked, underage girl.
“The whole purpose of the juvenile system is rehabilitation,” Columbus defense attorney Adam Nemann said Friday. “If he’s in compliance and does everything he’s asked to do, as a juvenile, he ought to be returned to his family and attempt to piece his life back together.”
Mays has been a model inmate at Cuyahoga Hills, Nemann said.
A lawyer for the girl and her family called the classification level “a fair resolution.”
The 20-year reporting requirement sends “a pretty powerful message about how severe the crime was,” said Wheeling, W.Va., attorney Bob Fitzsimmons. He wouldn’t comment on the possibility of an early release request for Mays.
Lipps had been scheduled to hold hearings for both of the two players he convicted of rape in March. He canceled the hearing for defendant Ma’Lik Richmond after the teen’s lawyer filed motions ahead of Friday’s court appearance.
Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, declined to comment Friday on the nature of the motions, which were sealed.
Richmond was sentenced to at least one year for raping the girl.