Four School Officials Charged in Steubenville Rape Case
Four school officials were charged by a grand jury Monday in connection with the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, the state attorney general announced today.
Michael McVey, the superintendent of the Steubenville school district, faces a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence, two fifth-degree felony counts of obstructing justice, a first-degree misdemeanor count of falsification, and a second-degree misdemeanor count of obstructing official business, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced at an 11 a.m. news conference. If convicted on all counts, the superintendent could serve up to seven years and 270 days in prison.
Matthew Belardine, a volunteer high school football coach at the time of the rape, faces four charges: a first-degree misdemeanor count of underage persons offenses concerning "beer or intoxicating liquor," a second-degree misdemeanor count of obstructing official business, a first-degree misdemeanor count of falsification, and a first-degree misdemeanor count of contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child. If convicted of all counts, he could serve up to one year and 265 days in jail.
Lynnett Gorman, a principal of a Steubenville elementary school, and Seth Fluharty, an assistant wrestling coach and special education teacher, were each indicted on a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse or neglect. If convicted, each could spend up to 30 days in jail.
In March, 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond and 17-year-old Trent Mays were both found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl during a series of parties in August 2012. They were each sentenced to a minimum of one year in a youth correctional facility. Mays was sentenced to an extra year at the juvenile facility for possession and transmission of nude photos of the victim. He'll serve that year immediately following the conclusion of his rape sentence. Both Mays and Richmond will also be required to register as sex offenders.
Immediately following the sentencing of Mays and Richmond, DeWine said that "this investigation cannot be completed—that we cannot bring finality to this matter—without the convening of a grand jury." He asked a local court to convene a grand jury in mid-April to determine whether any other individuals had committed any offense related to the rape.
"How do you hold the children accountable if you don't hold adults accountable?" asked DeWine at today's news conference announcing the new charges, per the Associated Press. He said that barring any new evidence, the grand jury's work is likely finished.
Back in October, the Steubenville City Schools' director of technology, William Rhinaman (pictured above) was the first district employee to be indicted in relation to the rape case. Rhinaman was charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony count of perjury, a fifth-degree felony count of obstructing justice, and a second-degree misdemeanor count of obstructing official business.
[UPDATE: Nov. 29, 4 p.m. ET: McVey, Gorman, and Fluharty have been placed on paid administrative leave, per the Los Angeles Times. The school took no action with Belardine because he isn't an official employee.]
Photo: This Oct. 7 booking photo provided by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Deptartment shows William Rhinaman, an information technology employee at the Steubenville, Ohio City Schools. An indictment against Rhinaman, announced by Attorney General Mike DeWine, contained the first charges brought by a grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in connection with two Ohio high school football players convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl. (Jefferson County Sheriffs Dept./AP)
Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.