Schools superintendent charged with three felonies, Ohio attorney general says
Three other school employees face misdemeanor charges, he says
Two high school football players were convicted in the May 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl
A schools technology director and his daughter were indicted in October
A grand jury investigating the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, and educators’ responses to a separate rape allegation in the city that year has led to the indictment of four school employees, including the school superintendent, who faces felony charges, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Monday.
Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey faces three felony counts: one charge of tampering with evidence and two counts of obstructing justice. He also is charged with making a false statement and obstructing official business, both misdemeanors, DeWine said.
Also indicted were an elementary school principal, Lynnett Gorman, and wrestling coach Seth Fluharty, both of whom are charged with misdemeanor failure to report child abuse. Volunteer assistant Steubenville football coach Matt Belardine was charged with four misdemeanors: allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making a false statement and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.
This brings to six the number of people the grand jury has indicted after two students were convicted of rape, DeWine said. A school technology director and his daughter were indicted in October.
Most of the charges relate to the August 2012 rape of a girl at a party in the small eastern Ohio community – a case that got national attention after photos and videos of the incident made their way onto social media.
In March, Steubenville High School football players Ma’lik Richmond and Trenton Mays were convicted of the rape. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile correctional facility. Mays got two years.
But some of the charges announced Monday relate not to the August 2012 rape, but to a separate alleged rape in April 2012 in the Steubenville area, DeWine said.
Gorman was charged with not reporting the alleged April 2012 incident, said her attorney, Steven Lemetris.
That case “was not prosecuted because there was no crime. If there was a crime there would be a victim,” Lemetris said.
Lemetris said Monday night the principal has been an educator for 30 years with a spotless record. He said Gorman is not guilty, but she now risks losing her teaching administrative credentials.
“She is a good person” Lemetris said.
DeWine’s office confirmed that it investigated the April 2012 case and declined to prosecute.
All of McVey’s charges cover a time period from April 2012 – the time of the first alleged rape – through this month, when the grand jury finished its investigation of the two cases.
“When I announced that we were going to have this grand jury investigation to answer all the questions and to see if adults had not done what they should have done, I did say in answer to a question that we would look at this previously reported (April 2012) incident,” DeWine told CNN Tuesday morning. “I stated right at the beginning … (that) frankly the grand jury would go wherever the facts took it.”
After Richmond and Mays were convicted tin the August 2012 rape, the grand jury began investigating whether others should be charged. In October, it indicted William Rhinaman, 53, the director of technology for Steubenville City Schools, on charges of tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
His daughter, Hannah Rhinaman, 20, of Mingo Junction, Ohio, was also indicted that month on two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of grand theft, according to a news release from DeWine’s office.
The charges against Hannah Rhinaman are separate and unrelated to the indictment against her father, the October news release said.
If convicted, William Rhinaman could be sentenced to four years in prison, which is longer than the two teens convicted of rape will serve.
CNN’s Jean Casarez and HLNtv.com’s Graham Winch contributed to this report.