Special grand jury to meet this week

STEUBENVILLE -The 14-member special Jefferson County grand jury that has been meeting since April to investigate if any adults, coaches or school administrators knew of an August 2012 rape of a Weirton girl by two Steubenville High School students will be meeting again Monday and is expected to meet several days this week.

A spokesman for Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine confirmed the grand jury “is expected to meet multiple days.” this week. Dan Tierney said Friday the attorney general, “cannot provide comment at this time.”

“The grand jury work is not done 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. This is certainly not the end of our investigation. Additional testimony will be taken and evidence will be examined,” DeWine said in October.

William Rhinaman, the former director of technology for Steubenville City Schools, was named in a four-count secret indictment by the special grand jury on Oct. 4.

Rhinaman was arrested on Oct. 7. He later entered a not guilty plea to charges, including tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony; obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony; obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor and perjury, a third-degree felony.

DeWine called the secret indictment naming Rhinaman “the first indictment issued by the special grand jury reviewing whether additional crimes were committed regarding the Steubenville teen rape case.”

His daughter, Hannah Rhinaman, was indicted by the special grand jury on Oct. 23 on three fifth-degree felony charges, including two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of theft from her two months 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 telephone interview last month.

Hannah Rhinaman also entered a not guilty plea during her arraignment.

DeWine said the indictment against Hannah Rhinaman was 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 a 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 stated.

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.

Both Rhinamans are scheduled for a Dec. 9 pre-trial hearing before Summit County retired Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove.

Cosgrove was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to oversee the special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case.

William Rhinaman retired from the city school district effective Nov. 1.

He had been placed on a paid leave of absence by the school board after his indictment by the special grand jury.

Two Steubenville High School students, Ma’Lik Richmond and Trent Mays, were convicted of rape earlier this year in connection with the 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 then-16-year-old victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone.

The grand jury has worked off and on since beginning work April 30.

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