The two young men accused of raping a fellow student in Steubenville, Ohio have been found guilty, and will begin serving their time inside a juvenile facility immediately. The victim's mother has forgiven at least one of the young men and told them both that she "had pity" for them.
"It did not matter what school you went to, what city you live in, or what sport you've played. Human compassion is not taught by a teacher, a coach or a parent. It is a God-given gift instilled in all of us. You displayed not only a lack of compassion but a lack of any moral code," the unnamed victim's mother said in the courtroom yesterday after the verdict was read.
"This does not define who my daughter is. She will persevere, grow and move on. I have pity for you both. I hope you fear the Lord, repent for your actions and pray hard for his forgiveness," she added.
One of the boys, Ma'lik Richmond, told the woman he was "so very sorry" as he broke down and approached her.
"I know you are, and I forgive you," she responded.
"It's a very religious, spiritual family. They are praying for those two young men also. This thing might have never happened had someone approached the family sooner. They are a very religious family. They would have accepted an apology at the time," the family's lawyer, Bob Fitzsimmons told Daily Mail after court adjourned.
"I think she was prepared to do that," Fitsimmons said of the 16-year-old victim. "She came here wanting to forgive them, but she hasn't made that decision yet."
Richmond and his accomplice, Trent Mays, have been sentenced to one and two years, respectively, in juvenile detention. Prosecutors revealed this week that they may charge 16 other minors with charges related to the case.
"We've gone a long way in this investigation, and we're almost there. The grand jury will finish up that investigation. This community desperately needs to have this behind them, but this community also desperately needs to know justice was done and that no stone was left unturned," Ohio State Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a press conference.