Ohio school workers' hearing set after rape case

Associated Press

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A court hearing could provide details of allegations against school workers charged with lying and interfering with investigators following the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two eastern Ohio high school football players.

Six current or former workers at the Steubenville school district were scheduled to appear before a judge in Jefferson County court Friday.

A grand jury has indicted five of the workers on charges including lying, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice following the rape of the West Virginia girl in August 2012. Among them is the area's top school official, Steubenville superintendent Mike McVey. McVey's attorney, Charles Bean, says McVey will fight the charges.

McVey and two other employees charged last month have been placed on leave. A fourth individual was a volunteer football coach.

The investigation included crimes committed in connection with the case against two members of the Steubenville High School football team as well as a separate alleged rape that happened in April 2012, four months before the assault that drew nationwide attention over demands that prosecutors should have charged more players.

McVey's charges include felony counts of obstructing justice and tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor charge alleging he made a false statement in April 2012.

Volunteer football coach Matthew Belardine, whose house authorities said was the scene of the underage drinking party that preceded the rape last summer, faces several misdemeanor charges. Attorneys Brian Duncan and Adam Nemann, who previously represented one of the football players, call the charges against Belardine unsubstantiated and say he will plead not guilty.

Seth Fluharty, a football team strength coach, was charged with failing to report possible child abuse in August 2012. Columbus attorney Tom Tyack has said he had been contacted to represent Fluharty but could not comment.

Elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman is charged with failing to report possible child abuse in April 2012. Her attorney, Stephen LaMatrice, said she will plead not guilty.

William Rhinaman, the Steubenville district's former technology director, is charged with evidence tampering, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. The 53-year-old Mingo Junction man has pleaded not guilty.

A sixth former employee, Rhinaman's daughter, Hannah, faces theft and receiving stolen property charges for alleged crimes uncovered during the grand jury investigation but unrelated to the rape case. Hannah Rhinaman, is accused of selling school property taken while working as a contractor. She has pleaded not guilty.

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