Superintendent, coaches charged in teen rape case

Nov 26, 2013 by

…school Superintendent Michael McVey, the principal of an elementary school, a football coach and a wrestling coach.

DeWine’s office has now .

Mike Dewine

McVey could serve up to seven years and 270 days in prison.

The statement says, in part:

“Michael McVey, 50 years old, of Steubenville, has been indicted on five counts:

— One count of Tampering with Evidence, a third degree felony

— Two counts of Obstructing Justice, a fifth degree felony

— One count of Falsification, a first degree misdemeanor

— One count of Obstructing Official Business, a second degree misdemeanor

“McVey is the superintendent of Steubenville City Schools. If convicted on all counts, McVey could serve up to seven years and 270 days in prison.

“Matthew Belardine, 26, of Steubenville, has been indicted on four counts:

— Underage Persons Offenses Concerning (“beer or intoxicating liquor”), a first degree misdemeanor

— Obstructing Official Business, a second degree misdemeanor

— Falsification, a first degree misdemeanor

— Contributing to the Unruliness or Delinquency of a Child, a first degree misdemeanor

“Belardine is a former assistant high school football coach for Steubenville City Schools. If convicted on all counts, Belardine could serve up to one year and 265 days in jail. “Seth Fluharty, 26, of Wintersville, has been indicted on one count regarding Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect, a fourth degree misdemeanor. Fluharty is an assistant wrestling coach and special education teacher for Steubenville City Schools. If convicted, Fluharty could serve up to 30 days in jail. “Lynnett Gorman, 40, of Steubenville, has been indicted on one count regarding Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect, a fourth degree misdemeanor. Gorman is the Principal of West Elementary in Steubenville. If convicted, Gorman could serve up to 30 days in jail.”

Four Ohio school officials were indicted Monday morning for obstructing an investigation of student athletes in the rape of a 16-year-old girl last year. The four include the Steubenville City School Superintendent Michael McVey, the principal of an elementary school, a football coach and a wrestling coach. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the indictments Monday morning. The four are due in court on Dec. 6. A grand jury investigating how school officials handled the investigation of the rape indicted McVey on five counts of tampering with evidence, obstruction and falsification. The issues investigated by the grand jury there include whether adults like teachers or coaches knew of the rape but failed to report it as required by state law. “People made bad choices,” DeWine said. “This grand jury says there has to be accountability. “What you have here is an attempt to protect an institution or protect someone when what should have happened is the person doing that should have been worry about the actual victim,” he said. “People were not worried about the victim.” Also indicted were: Michael Belardine, 26, a volunteer football coach at the time of the rape. The grand jury indicted Belardine on charges of allowing underage drinking, obstruction, falsification and contributing to unruliness. Lynnett Gorman, 40, a principal at a Steubenville elementary school who was indicted on a charge of failure to report child abuse or neglect. Seth Fluharty, 26, a special education teacher and wrestling coach. He was indicted on a charge of failure to report child abuse or neglect. McVey, 50, wasn’t immediately available for comment, but the district planned to issue a statement later Monday. DeWine says he believes the grand jury’s work is done and no more indictments are expected. He says the panel, which began its work on April 15, met 18 times and heard from 123 witnesses.

The four indictments follow the grand jury’s indictment in October of the district’s information technology director on a charge of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. The panel also indicted that man’s daughter on theft and receiving stolen property charges unrelated to the rape case.

In March, two teens were found delinquent — the equivalent of guilty in adult court — in the rape of the 16-year-old West Virginia girl at a party in August 2012. The teens were members of the high school’s football team.

Ma’Lik Richmond, 17, was convicted of rape and sentenced to a year in the juvenile prison system. Mays, also 17, was convicted of rape and of using his phone to take a picture of the girl naked and sentenced to two years in juvenile detention.

The case has long been marked by allegations that more football players should have been charged and that police and prosecutors tried to cover up aspects of the case early on. Authorities counter that the two teens were arrested and charged within days of the attack.

Big Red football is a big deal in the economically depressed city of about 18,000, a former steel town that shed thousands of jobs in past decades. The team’s football stadium, dubbed “Death Valley,” sits on a hill above Steubenville, and the team is a nine-time state champion, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006. Flames erupt from the mouth of a stallion rearing over the stadium each time a touchdown is scored.

Hacker activists helped propel coverage of the rape case and press allegations of a cover-up, including their reposting of a 12-minute Internet video made within hours of the attacks in which Michael Nodianos, a former Steubenville student, jokes about the victim and the attacks. The National Organization of Women had called on DeWine to charge Nodianos with failure to report a crime, while Nodianos’ attorney says he had no firsthand knowledge of the attacks.

The owners of the house where that video was made were among those interviewed by investigators.

via Ohio superintendent, coaches charged in teen rape case.

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