Hearing delayed in rape case

STEUBENVILLE – The forecast for wintry weather across the region led court officials to postpone hearings for current or former school workers charged following a special grand jury investigation prompted by the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two Steubenville High School students.

Summit County Retired Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove delayed today’s court procedings out of weather concerns. She set the new procedings for Dec. 13 in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.

On Nov, 25, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that Superintendent Mike McVey had been named in a five-count indictment, including one count of tampering with evidence and two counts of obstructing justice, both felonies. McVey also was indicted with two misdemeanors, including one count of falsification and one count of obstructing official business.

The indictment claims McVey allegedly committed crimes starting on April 5, 2012.

The special grand jury also named Lynnett Gorman, the Pugliese West Elementary School principal, in a one-count misdemeanor indictment regarding reporting child abuse or neglect on April 12, 2012.

Seth Fluharty, a wrestling and conditioning coach and teacher at Garfield East Elementary School, was indicted on one misdemeanor count regarding reporting child abuse or neglect on Aug. 13.

The grand jury named former volunteer high school football coach Matthew Belardine on four misdemeanor counts including allowing an underage person to consume beer or liquor, obstructing official business, falsification and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.

The grand jury issued indictments in October against William Rhinaman, the now-retired director of technology for the city school district, and his daughter, Hannah Rhinaman, who worked for the school district for approximately one month last year.

William Rhinaman was arrested on Oct. 7 and later entered a not guilty plea to charges, including tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.

Hannah Rhinaman was indicted by the special grand jury on Oct. 23 on two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of theft related to her time as a contract employee for the school district.

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.

The Rhinamans will appear for their pre-trial hearings on Dec. 13. The other four are scheduled to appear for their arraignments that same day.

Gorman and Fluharty, who had been placed on administrative leave after the indictments were handed down, were reinstated to their positions during a Tuesday school board meeting. McVey remains on administrative leave. Former Superintendent Richard Ranallo has been appointed by the school board to serve as interim superintendent.

Ma’Lik Richmond and Trent Mays were convicted in March in connection with the August 2012 rape of a Weirton teenage girl following a series of alcohol-fueled parties.

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.

Richmond and Mays are serving sentences in Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities.