Former Steubenville Football Coach Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail
Matthew Belardine, a former volunteer football coach at Steubenville (Ohio) High School, was found guilty on Tuesday for offenses related to the rape of a 16-year-old girl in 2012.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the verdict of Visiting Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove, who found Belardine guilty after he pleaded no contest to a first-degree misdemeanor charge of underage persons offenses concerning "beer or intoxicating liquor" and a first-degree misdemeanor count of falsification. A grand jury first charged Belardine with those two counts, along with a second-degree misdemeanor count of obstructing official business and a first-degree misdemeanor count of contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child, back in November 2013. (Those latter two charges were dismissed on Tuesday.)
Had Belardine been convicted on all four counts, he could have served up to one year and 265 days in jail. Instead, the judge sentenced him to 10 days in jail, one year of community control, and 40 hours of community service, along with a fine of $1,000 ($500 for each count).
Bellardine must serve 10 days in jail, pay $500/charge and do 40 hrs of community service. pic.twitter.com/FPnXOFkbai-- Sara Yingling (@SYinglingWTRF) April 22, 2014
On the night of the rape, a party was held at Belardine's house, according to DeWine, which both the suspects and victim attended. He was the only adult at said party.
"The court feels that there has to be some penalty here for what you did, for lying to law enforcement and covering this up," the judge said, according to a report from WTRF 7 News' Sara Yingling. "...I don't know what is going on in your mind when you think it's OK to lie to the police when they are trying to find out what happened at a subsequent party."
Belardine's 10-day sentence will begin on Friday, according to Yingling. Of the six adults who were indicted by the grand jury—not all of whom were indicted in connection with the rape—only two have cases that remain open. William Rhinaman, the district's director of technology, had a pre-trial hearing scheduled for today, while Michael McVey, the superintendent of the district, has a motion hearing scheduled for May 5, per DeWine. The trial date for McVey is expected to be determined at that hearing, according to the Herald-Star.
Rhinaman is facing felony counts of tampering with evidence, perjury and obstructing justice, along with a misdemeanor count of obstructing official business. McVey is facing felony counts of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, and misdemeanor counts of falsification and obstructing official business.
Earlier in April, Seth Fluharty, a wrestling coach who was indicted for failing to report child abuse or neglect, reached an agreement to work 20 hours at a domestic violence shelter in exchange for having his charges dismissed. In February, Hannah Rhinaman, William Rhinaman's daughter, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of receiving stolen property and one felony count of grand theft stemming from her time as a district employee, but the charges were unrelated specifically to the rape case. And in January, Lynnett Gorman, a principal of a Steubenville elementary school, agreed to have her misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse or neglect dropped in exchange for serving 40 hours of community service at a rape crisis center or victim assistance center.
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