Steubenville case: Four more charged, including superintendent, volunteer coach
“How do you hold kids accountable, if you don’t hold the adults accountable,” asks Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine during a press conference to discusses new developments in the special grand jury investigation into the Steubenville teen rape case.
The charges were announced Monday by the state’s top prosecutor, who decried “blurred, stretched and distorted boundaries of right and wrong” by students and grown-ups alike.
“How do you hold kids accountable if you don’t hold the adults accountable?” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asked.
Superintendent Michael McVey, 50, was charged with tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice in the aftermath of the incident at the center of the case: the sexual assault of a drunken 16-year-old girl by two high school football players after a booze-fueled party in August 2012.
An assistant coach, Matthew Belardine, 26, was charged with allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business and making a false statement.
Two school employees, strength coach Seth Fluharty, 26, and elementary-school principal Lynnett Gorman, 40, were charged with failure to report child abuse.
The indictment did not contain details of what each person allegedly did.
“What you have is people who were not worried about a victim. They were worried about other things,” DeWine said.
“People made bad choices and the grand jury said there are repercussions.”
A small city of 19,000 about 40 miles from Pittsburgh, Steubenville and its high-school football team, Big Red, became the center of a firestorm last year after the rape allegations surfaced.
Though charges were brought against two players, activists questioned why more people weren’t charged — including other students who sent photos, videos of texts about the assault, or adults who may have known about it but didn’t report it.
After Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, were convicted of rape and sentenced to at least a year in juvenile prison in March, a grand jury was convened to determine if anyone else broke any laws.
Jason Cohn / Reuters file
Harding Stadium, home of the Steubenville High Big Red football team.
It met 18 times and heard from 123 witnesses, ultimately issuing six indictments.
Last month, it charged William Rhinaman, 53, the Steubenville schools’ technology director, with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. His 20-year-old daughter, Hannah, was charged with a theft unrelated to the rape case.