DeWine: Special grand jury to continue work
STEUBENVILLE – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Wednesday the special grand jury investigation to determine if adults, coaches, teachers or administrators were aware of an August 2012 rape of a Weirton teenage girl but did not report it as required by state law will continue after a second indictment was issued Wednesday morning.
“The special grand jury will return to work on Nov. 18. Their work is continuing and the investigation will go where it goes. We will follow the facts,” stated DeWine.
Hannah M. Rhinaman, 20, of Mingo Junction was indicted by the 14-member grand jury on three fifth-degree felony charges, including two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of theft stemming from her two months of work as a contract employee for the Steubenville City School district.
“She took property from the school district and sold it,” said DeWine during a Wednesday afternoon telephone interview.
Hannah Rhinaman is the daughter of William Rhinaman of Mingo Junction who was named by the special grand jury earlier this month in a four-count indictment accusing him of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
William Rhinaman is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Friday morning for a pre-trial hearing.
DeWine said Hannah Rhinaman may also appear for arraignment proceedings before visiting retired Summit County Judge Patricia Cosgrove.
“A summons has been issued for her to appear in court. If she is served in time she will also appear before the visiting judge Friday,” DeWine said.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said he anticipates a deputy will serve the court summons on Hannah Rhinaman today.
DeWine said the indictment against Hannah Rhinaman is not related to the charges against her father.
“It’s not unusual when you have a significant investigation to come across things that you did not anticipate finding,” DeWine noted during the telephone interview.
“The charges against Hannah Rhinaman are related to incidents that occurred at Steubenville City Schools. However, the charges are separate and unrelated to the previous indictment issued against her father, William Rhinaman on Oct. 7,” DeWine said.
According to Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey, Hannah Rhinaman worked in the school district from Aug. 20, 2012, to Sept. 12, 2012.
“She was hired to assist the technology department, set up the district’s computer labs and update software,” stated the press release from the Steubenville Board of Education.
“Ms. Rhinaman worked at the district a total of 118 hours at $7.70 per hour on a purchase services contract. The board will continue to cooperate fully with the attorney general and law enforcement authorities in their on-going investigation of the district. Any questions about the charges or the criminal investigation should be directed to the office of the Ohio attorney general,” concluded the prepared statement from McVey.
Hannah Rhinaman has had several brushes with local law enforcement in the past, including an arrest by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in June 2011 for operating a vehicle under the influence, no seat belt, marked lanes and carrying a concealed weapon.
She was cited by the Cross Creek Police in July 2012 for speeding.
Hannah Rhinaman was arrested by Steubenville police on Aug. 31 and charged with driving while intoxicated. She was arrested on Sept. 4 by city police on charges of driving while intoxicated, possession of drug paraphernalia, hit skip and improper backing.
Steubenville attorney Stephen Lamatrice said he represented Hannah Rhinaman in Municipal Court last month and is willing to provide legal representation for her if he is appointed by the court.
Lamatrice represented William Rhinaman at his arraignment, but said the case would need a legal team with the resources to research the technical aspects of the case.
He said Rhinaman has hired an attorney for his pre-trial hearing Friday.
William Rhinaman is on a paid leave of absence from his job as director of technology for the city school district and is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Friday morning for a pre-trial hearing.
Ma’Lik Richmond and Trent Mays, were convicted of rape earlier this year in connection with an incident in August 2012. Mays also was found delinquent of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for having a picture of the 16-year-old victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone. The teens are serving their sentences in the Ohio juvenile detention system
The special grand jury has worked off and on since beginning work April 30.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)