Ohio rape case charge dates to night of assault

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Associated Press

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio school employee tampered with evidence beginning on the night of an alcohol-fueled party last year after which two high school football players raped a 16-year-old 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 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 West Virginia girl after the party that began the night of Aug. 11, 2012.

Rhinaman, 53, was being held in Jefferson County Jail without bond. 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 Wednesday at which he's expected to ask an attorney to represent him and to seek bond. Lamatrice said Rhinaman has lived in the area 30 years and is not a risk to flee. He said Monday that Rhinaman denied 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 couldn't comment on the indictment.

The obstructing justice charge dates from April 8 to Oct. 4 and alleges 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 Rhinaman tried to stand in the way of a public official's work.

The perjury charge alleges 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 whether adults such as coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by law.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

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