Updates from Attorney General on Steubenville Teen Rape Case - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Four Indicted by Grand Jury in Steubenville Rape Case, Including School Superintendent

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William Rhinaman, the first person indicted in the Steubenville rape case. William Rhinaman, the first person indicted in the Steubenville rape case.
Hannah Rhinaman Hannah Rhinaman
Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, convicted in the Steubenville rape case Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, convicted in the Steubenville rape case
Protestors outside the trial. Protestors outside the trial.

Four people were indicted by the grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case on Monday, including Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey, 50.

McVey has been indicted on five counts:

1) One count of tampering with evidence - a third degree felony
2) Two Counts of obstructing justice - a fifth degree felony
3) One count of falsification - a first degree misdemeanor
4) One count of obstructing official business - a second degree misdemeanor

If convicted on all counts, McVey could serve up to five years and 270 days in prison.

Also indicted was Lynnett Gorman, 40, principal of West Elementary in Steubenville. Gorman was charged with failure to report child abuse, a fourth degree misdemeanor. Gorman could face up to 30 days in jail.

Also charged with failure to report child abuse was Seth Fluharty, 26, of Wintersville and the wrestling coach and special education teacher at Steubenville High School. If convicted, Fluharty could serve up to 30 days in jail.

School Officials Indicted by Grand Jury Placed on Leave


The final indictment was against Matthew Bellardine, former volunteer coach for the football team, who faces four charges including:

1) Underage persons offenses concerning ("beer or intoxicating liquor") - a first degree misdemeanor
2) Obstructing Official Business - a second degree misdemeanor
3) Falsification - a first degree misdemeanor
4) Contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child - a first degree misdemeanor

If convicted, Bellardine could serve up to 1 year and 265 days in jail.

Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this would be all of the indictments presented by the grand jury. All those indicted will appear in court on Dec. 6.

(Related link: Attorney General's Press Release on the Indictments)

DeWine said the grand jury's work was done, "barring any newly-discovered evidence," but he refused to discuss witness lists or details of the grand jury probe.

He did say, however, that the justice system specifies that "the grand jury must have probable cause to believe that all of the elements of a criminal offense are present before the members can return an indictment."

"It is simply not sufficient that a person's behavior was reprehensible, disgusting, mean-spirited, or just plain stupid.," he added. "Rather, it is necessary that the grand jury find that a specific enumerated crime, as provided by the Ohio Revised Code, has been committed."

He did say the grand jury "tried to hold adults accountable" for bungling their duties.

"The lesson from this, from what happened surrounding the rape, is as old as the Scripture, as old as mankind," he said. "Treat others (as you would be treated). When someone is in trouble, don't take advantage of them, jump in and try to take care of them. Doing the right thing is not only a moral obligation, but also a legal obligation."

DeWine said "people made bad choices, and the grand jury said there are repercussions.

There are consequences, and there has to be accountability " for that.

"This began as a rape of a 16 year-old girl -- a horrible crime of violence," he said. "But it also represents blurred, stretched, and distorted boundaries of right and wrong. While this started out being about the kids, it is also just as much about the parents -- about the grown-ups, the adults. How do you hold the kids accountable if you don't hold the adults accountable?"

Before Monday's announcement, two other individuals were indicted as a result of the grand jury's investigation. William Rhinaman, 53, was indicted on Oct. 7 by the Grand Jury. Jurors found evidence that Rhinaman allegedly altered, destroyed or removed information pertaining to the investigation.

(Related Story: Man Indicted by Steubenville Grand Jury Pleads Not Guilty to Charges)

He previously was employed as the Steubenville Schools information technology director before he retired earlier in November. Rhinaman has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

His daughter, Hannah, 20, also was indicted by the Grand Jury. The indictment against Hannah Rhinaman was handed down Oct. 23, but the charges are not related to the rape case.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the panel charged Hannah Rhinaman after uncovering evidence that she stole equipment from Steubenville City Schools and sold it.