Steubenville rape case: New arrest, jail without bond
STEUBENVILLE, OH — The small town of Steubenville became a household name for the wrong reasons, thanks to social media, but when two teenage boys were arrested there, accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, very few people in the Rust Belt town in Ohio were eager to talk.
And someone may have tried to cover up for them. An Ohio school official was jailed Monday without bond after being indicted in connection with the case, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said.
William Rhinaman, 53, director of technology at Steubenville High School, faces four counts: tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury in connection with the case, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. Rhinaman was arrested Monday.
If convicted, he could face four years behind bars, more time than the two convicted boys will serve.
Details of the indictment, including what kind of evidence was allegedly tampered with, were not immediately available.
“This is the first indictment in an ongoing grand jury investigation,” DeWine said in a prepared statement. “Our goal remains to uncover the truth, and our investigation continues.”
Authorities said star Steubenville High School football players Ma’lik Richmond and Trenton Mays, who were respectively 16 and 17 at the time, raped the girl during a series of end-of-summer parties in August 2012.
Photos and videos of the victim, sent out with lurid text messages, hit social media and attracted the attention of bloggers, who questioned everything from the behavior of the football team to the integrity of the investigation.
Richmond and Mays were convicted of rape in March after a trial that divided their football-crazed town of less than 20,000 souls. Mays also was found guilty of disseminating a nude photo of a minor.
At the heart of the case was the question of whether the victim, who testified that she remembered little, was too drunk to understand what was happening to her and too drunk to consent.
Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile correctional facility. Mays got two years.
After the two teenagers were convicted, DeWine revealed that 16 people had refused to talk to investigators. A grand jury would determine whether other crimes had been committed.
Rhinaman will be arraigned in Steubenville at the Jefferson County Court House on Wednesday, attorney general’s office spokesman Dan Tierney said. Court-appointed counsel will represent him.
“I am aware of the situation, and I will get you a press release on Tuesday, ” Mike McVey, superintendent for Steubenville City Schools, said in an e-mail response.
Bob Fitzsimmons, the family attorney representing the 16-year-old victim who was raped, told CNN that the grand jury’s first indictment is a significant first step.
“I think it’s important that this shows some fruits from the investigative grand jury and also considers the importance of those responsible for reporting and/or preserving evidence after a crime is committed involving a child, in this case a girl 16 years of age,” Fitzsimmons said.
By Julia Talanova
CNN was unable to reach Rhinaman’s attorney for comment Monday.
CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt contributed to this report.
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