Texting harassment case results in probation

STEUBENVILLE – Two 16-year-old girls who used social media to send messages to a 16-year-old Weirton rape victim entered guilty pleas this morning to a telecommunication harassment misdemeanor and were placed on probation for six months.

The two Steubenville High School students also were sentenced by Jefferson County Juvenile Court Judge Samuel Kerr to 30 days in juvenile detention, but the judge suspended the sentence in favor of the probation and 40 hours of community service.

The two were initially charged with felony intimidation of a witness and aggravated menacing and telecommunication harassment, both misdemeanors.

The girls through their attorneys officially denied the charges during a court appearance in March.

Both defendants told the judge this morning they “made bad tweets.”

The juvenile court did not release the girls’ names.

They were originally arrested by City Police on March 18, the day after visiting Juvenile Judge Tom Lipps found Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville and Trent Mays, 17, of Bloomingdale delinquent of rape. Mays also was found guilty of a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly having a picture of the 16-year-old victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone.

The judge also ordered the girls’ cell phones be released to them.

Assistant Prosecutor Samuel Pate said he was satisfied with the plea agreement and the statements made today by the two girls.