School worker facing charges in rape case
STEUBENVILLE – William Rhinaman, a 53-year-old director of technology for the Steubenville City Schools District, remains in the Jefferson County jail today waiting for his Wednesday afternoon arraignment on charges he obstructed a special grand jury investigating whether additional crimes were committed regarding the Steubenville teen rape case.
Rhinaman was arrested at approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday at his Mingo Junction home by Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents.
He was taken to the Jefferson County jail where he was booked into the facility and held without bond until his 1 p.m. Wednesday arraignment hearing to answer charges of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
Three of the charges are felonies, while the obstructing official business is a second degree misdemeanor.
Rhinaman is expected to ask for assistance from the Ohio Public Defender’s Office during his initial appearance Wednesday.
Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey said Monday evening he “was aware of the situation,” but declined additional comment.
McVey was expected to issue a statement today.
Summit County retired Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove is expected to preside over the arraignment proceedings.
Cosgrove was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to oversee the special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case after Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese recused himself from the case.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the four-count indictment late Monday afternoon and said, “This is the first indictment in an ongoing grand jury investigation. Our goal remains to uncover the truth, and our investigation continues.”
The indictment was returned by the 14-member special grand jury during its meeting Friday and made formal Monday.
The indictment remains sealed at this point.
DeWine said Monday evening a no-bond order was issued and Rhinaman will remain in the county jail until his arraignment.
“The grand jury work is not do ne and the panel will continue to meet. Our goal is to find the truth. Some investigations take time and this investigation is ongoing. I am not going to speculate on future indictments. That wouldn’t be fair. But the grand jury will continue meeting,” said DeWine.
The special grand jury investigation was announced in March by DeWine immediately after two former Steubenville High School students were convicted and sentenced for their roles in a series of parties in August 2012 that saw a Weirton teenage girl raped.
The special grand jury was impaneled in April and the same day BCI agents searched Steubenville High School, the school district’s administrative offices and the Harding Stadium fieldhouse and seized computers and cell phones.
Search warrants also were served at Vestige Digital Investigations, a digital forensics storage company in Medina that has done work for the school district.
The company has denied it’s the subject of a criminal investigation.
The special grand jury has met 10 times since it was seated on April 15.
A chief issue before the panel is whether coaches, school administrators or other adults knew of the allegation but failed to report it as required by Ohio law.
The special grand jury is set to meet again later this month.
(Gossett can be contacted at email@example.com.)