Steubenville schools worker arrested over W.Va. girl's rape
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio school employee tampered with evidence beginning the night of an alcohol-fueled party last year after which two high school football players raped a 16-year-old West Virginia girl, according to an indictment released Tuesday.
William Rhinaman, technology director at Steubenville City Schools, also was charged with obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
The indictment released by the Ohio Attorney General's Office alleges that Rhinaman tried to alter or conceal evidence from Aug. 11, 2012, through April 25. Two Steubenville High School football players were convicted of raping the girl after the party that began the night of Aug. 11, 2012.
Rhinaman, 53, was being held in the Jefferson County Jail without bail. Steubenville attorney Stephen Lamatrice briefly represented him after his arrest Monday but said Rhinaman now wants a public defender.
Rhinaman, of Mingo Junction near Steubenville, has a hearing today, at which he's expected to ask an attorney to represent him and to seek bail. Lamatrice said Rhinaman has lived in the area 30 years and is not a risk to flee. He said Monday that Rhinaman denies the accusation.
Rhinaman went to work for the district in 1985, left in 2002 and returned in 2006, said schools Superintendent Michael McVey. Rhinaman is responsible for maintaining technology for the district, including equipment and software. McVey wouldn't comment on the charges.
Dan Tierney, an Attorney General's Office spokesman, said he also wouldn't comment on the indictment.
The obstructing-justice charge dates from April 8 to Oct. 4 and alleges that Rhinaman tried to stop the prosecution of another person by either concealing or destroying evidence, getting the person to withhold information or communicating false information.
The charge of obstructing official business, also covering April 8 to Oct. 4, alleges that Rhinaman tried to stand in the way of a public official's work.
The perjury charge alleges that Rhinaman lied under oath July 8. The Attorney General's Office has said the Steubenville grand jury was in session that day.
Attorney General Mike DeWine convened the grand jury March 17, the day a judge convicted the two players of raping the girl.
A top issue before the 14-person panel has been finding if adults, such as coaches or school administrators, knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it, as required by law.