Rhinamans make court appearance, set to return in December
STEUBENVILLE – William Rhinaman searched the Internet and hired a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based law firm that recommended an Akron-area attorney to defend him against charges that he tampered with evidence, obstructed justice, obstructed official business and committed perjury.
But, Rhinaman, the director of technology for Steubenville City Schools, told visiting retired Summit County Judge Patricia Cosgrove attorney Neil Rubin was unable to attend a pre-trial hearing Friday and instructed Rhinaman to ask for a continuance.
“My understanding is the paperwork wasn’t completed yet and that is why he wasn’t able to be here today,” Rhinaman said during a brief pre-trial hearing Friday morning in a Jefferson County Common Pleas courtroom.
Rhinaman said he was able to hire the Terani Law Firm, “after I was able to get my credit cards back.”
Rhinaman withdrew his request for a court-appointed attorney Friday.
Just moments before Rhinaman made his plea for a continuance, his daughter, Hannah Rhinaman, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of theft during her arraignment hearing before Cosgrove.
After questioning the 20-year-old Hannah Rhinaman about her financial resources, the judge appointed Steubenville attorney Stephen Lamatrice to represent the Mingo Junction woman.
The judge also allowed Hannah Rhinaman to remain free on a personal recognizance bond.
Cosgrove scheduled pre-trial hearings for 11 a.m. on Dec. 6 for William and Hannah Rhinaman.
William Rhinaman was indicted by a special Jefferson County grand jury on Oct. 4 and arrested on Oct. 7 at his Mingo Junction residence.
The attorneys representing the Rhinamans are expected to file motions for discovery in order to learn more information about the attorney general’s cases against the father and his daughter.
Hannah Rhinaman was named in a three-count indictment on Wednesday.
According to a press release issued Wednesday by the attorney general’s office, “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. “
“She took property from the school district and sold it. It’s not unusual when you have a significant investigation to come across things that you did not anticipate finding,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said during a Wednesday afternoon telephone interview.
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 help the technology department set up the district’s computer labs and update software. Ms. Rhinaman worked at the district a total of 118 hours at $7.70 per hour on a purchase services contract,” McVey noted in a prepared statement.
William Rhinaman is currently on a paid leave of absence from his job as director of technology for the city school district.
The special grand jury has been meeting since April 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.
DeWine said the grand jury will reconvene in November.
“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.
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 currently serving their sentences in the Ohio juvenile detention system.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)