The story of two Steubenville, Ohio high school football players accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl – images of which were captured and disseminated on social media – made national headlines. Now, in the aftermath of the boys’ convictions, four school officials have been charged in connection with the investigation.
Prosecutors announced today a special grand jury that had heard testimony from 123 witnesses issued indictments in relation to the August 2012 rape – and a lesser known rape charge from a 14-year-old girl against members of the school’s baseball team in April 2012.
Steubenville Superintendent Michael McVey was indicted on felony charges of obstructing justice charge and tampering with evidence; and misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business and falsification. McVey could be sentenced to more than five years in prison if convicted.
Former assistant football coach Matthew Belardine was hit with misdemeanor charges of allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making false statements to investigators and contributing to the delinquency of minors. He faces over a year in prison time.
Two other officials – wrestling coach Seth Fluharty and elementary school principal Lynett Gorman — were charged with failure to report child abuse or neglect, and face up to 30 days in jail.
Another school official — school technology director William Rhinaman – had been charged previously with tampering with evidence relating to the August 2012 rape and lying to the grand jury.
Steubenville HS football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, both 17, were convicted of rape in March. They are serving sentences in a state juvenile facility.
In announcing the indictments, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine assailed the school officials for the alleged cover-up: “Everyone has an obligation to help find the truth — not hide the truth, not tamper with the truth, not obstruct the truth, and not destroy the truth.”