Steubenville rape case grand jury issues 1st indictment, charges school IT employee


STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - A school employee has been indicted in connection with the Steubenville rape case.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that William Rhinaman, 53, of Mingo Junction, was indicted by a special grand jury on counts of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.

Mr. Rhinaman is listed on Steubenville City Schools' website as director of technology.

"This is the first indictment in an ongoing grand jury investigation," Mr. DeWine said. "Our goal remains to uncover the truth, and our investigation continues."

The Ohio special grand jury has been meeting for months to investigate whether more people should be charged in connection with the Steubenville rape case, in which Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were found delinquent of raping a 16-year-old girl during a night of partying Aug. 11, 2012.

Mr. DeWine called for the grand jury immediately following the March 17verdicts against the two Steubenville High School football players to ensure the exhaustiveness of a criminal investigation that some say was corrupted by allegiances to the football program. Mr. DeWine noted 16 people refused to be interviewed during the initial investigation.

Social media played a key role in the case, which drew national attention. Some who attended the Aug. 11 party took cell phone pictures and videos of the assault and then talked about it on Facebook and Twitter. A video later showed up on YouTube, featuring another student joking about the attack.

It was unclear whether any of the social media matters played a role in the charges against Mr. Rhinaman. A spokesman for Mr. DeWine could not be reached for comment.

Until today, only the two former Steubenville High School football players had been charged in connection with the rape of the Weirton, W.Va., girl, even though other teens attended the party and talked about it on social media.

In March, Mr. DeWine signaled that failure to report a felony, failure by a mandatory reporter to report child abuse (including rape) and the provision of alcohol to underage persons are all charges that the grand jury could explore.

Under Ohio law, school employees and other authority figures who interact with minors are required to immediately report suspected abuse or neglect.

Search warrants requested by the attorney general were executed in March at the Steubenville board of education offices and other facilities, Steubenville High School and Vestige Ltd. in Medina County, Ohio, a computer forensic services provider used in civil litigation and law enforcement.