SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 26, 2013

Grand jury charges 4 more in Ohio rape case

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio school superintendent and two coaches were charged yesterday with lying or failing to report possible child abuse after an investigation prompted by the rape of a nearly passed-out 16-year-old girl by two high school football players.

A grand jury investigation undertaken after the conviction of two members of the celebrated Steubenville High School football team charged four more people yesterday, including a school principal. The indictments don’t detail the allegations, and the attorney general’s office wouldn’t elaborate, though it did say the panel’s investigation included both crimes committed in connection with the football players’ case and an alleged rape in April 2012 that was reported to police in September 2012.

The players’ case caused a broad uproar after cellphone video of the attack was posted online, drawing intense criticism of prosecutors that more players should have been charged. One video made within hours of the August 2012 attack showed a former Steubenville student joking about the victim and the assault.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine convened the grand jury to look into the behavior of school administrators and other adults in the community after the two players were convicted last March. Under the law, educators are required to report allegations of child abuse.

Those charged yesterday were Steubenville Superintendent Mike McVey, strength coach Seth Fluharty, volunteer football coach Matthew Belardine and elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman.

McVey’s charges include felony counts of obstructing justice and tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor charge alleging he made a false statement in April 2012. McVey wasn’t immediately available for comment, and a message was left for his attorney.

Belardine, whose house was the scene of the underage drinking party that preceded the rape last summer, faces several misdemeanor charges, including making a false statement and contributing to underage alcohol consumption. Belardine’s father, Tim, said his son wasn’t commenting immediately while he worked out legal representation.

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