Rhinaman retires from school district job

STEUBENVILLE -William Rhinaman, the 53-year-old Steubenville City School District director of technology accused of lying to a special Jefferson County grand jury investigating issues related to an August 2012 rape of a Weirton teenage girl, retired effective Friday.

The city school board of education met in special session Friday to approve Rhinaman’s retirement.

Rhinaman has worked for the school district for approximately 27 years. He also worked for the Ohio Mid-Eastern Regional Education Service Agency.

The school board discussed the issue in executive session for 25 minutes before approving the single issue on the meeting agenda.

Board member Dr. Michael Giannamore abstained from voting.

“I have been the primary care physician for the Rhinaman family for the past 15 years and felt it was inappropriate for me to vote on this issue,” Giannamore said after the meeting.

Superintendent Michael McVey said the school district will continue using World Electronics on an as-needed basis for $70 an hour.

“I will meet with the school board personnel committee to prepare a list of duties of the director of technology and will advertise the job,” said McVey.

The 14-member grand jury panel has been meeting since April to determine if any adults, coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by state law.

Two Steubenville High School students were convicted in March of rape and were sentenced to incarceration in the Ohio juvenile detention system.

The 53-year-old Rhinaman was named in a four-count secret indictment on Oct. 7 charging him with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjuring himself during a six-month-long special grand jury investigation reviewing whether additional crimes were committed regarding the Steubenville teen rape case.

Rhinaman was placed on a paid leave of absence by the school board after his indictment.

Rhinaman also was placed on an unpaid leave from his part-time job at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

According to a statement released by the university, Rhinaman was an adjunct professor in the graduate education department.

“He was placed on immediate administrative leave following news of his indictment. In such circumstances, it is Franciscan University’s standing practice to place individuals on administrative leave to allow them to focus on concerns external to their work for the university,” according to a press release issued by the university.

“Mr. Rhinaman had taught computers in education on a part-time adjunct basis at the university since 2008. The university does not expect to be contacted by the authorities in this case since the issues have nothing to do with Mr. Rhinaman’s work at Franciscan University. The university would, however, fully cooperate should they request assistance with their investigation,” according to the prepared statement.

Rhinaman appeared before visiting retired Summit County Judge Patricia Cosgrove last week for a pre-trial hearing but the case was delayed when he appeared without an attorney.

Rhinaman told Cosgrove he had hired an attorney from Akron after searching the Web but said Neil Rubin was unable to attend the pre-trial hearing.

“My understanding is the paperwork wasn’t completed yet and that is why he wasn’t able to be here today,” Rhinaman told the judge.

Rhinaman’s daughter, Hannah, was indicted last month on two charges of receiving stolen property and one charge of theft.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Hannah Rhinaman’s alleged activities were discovered during the special grand jury proceedings but noted her indictment was not related to the rape investigation.

Both Rhinamans are scheduled to appear before Cosgrove for pre-trial hearings on Dec. 6.

“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,” DeWine said last week.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com)