Associated Press report:
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in connection with the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players last year has issued its first indictment, charging a school employee with interfering with a criminal matter.
The indictment announced Monday by Attorney General Mike DeWine charges William Rhinaman with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
Rhinaman, of Mingo Junction, was arrested Monday afternoon after the charges from Friday’s indictment were made formal, DeWine said. Rhinaman, 53, was scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday.
Without elaborating, DeWine said the charges are related to Rhinaman’s job as a Steubenville city schools’ information technology employee.
“The only thing I can is that the grand jury investigation continues,” DeWine said.
A phone listing for Rhinaman was not taking calls Monday. Messages were also left for the superintendent of Steubenville schools.
Defense attorney Stephen Lamatrice says Rhinaman’s position is that he did nothing wrong. He declined to comment further.
DeWine announced the grand jury March 17, the same day a judge convicted two Steubenville High School football players of raping the West Virginia teen after an alcohol-fueled party following an August 2012 football scrimmage.
Allegations of a cover-up dogged the case, despite charges brought against the boys shortly after the attack. Attention was fueled by online activists who said more football players should have been charged. Three teens who saw the attacks, including two players, were granted immunity in exchange for their testimony.
A key issue before the panel has been whether adults such as coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by state law.
The grand jury has worked off and on since beginning work April 30. That day, investigators searched Steubenville High School and the local school board offices.
Investigators also searched Vestige Digital Investigations, a digital forensics storage company in Medina, in northeast Ohio. The company’s connection to the case was unclear, and it has denied it’s the subject of a criminal investigation.
+++++++++++++++++++++++Local TV report
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio –
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday announced that the first indictment has been issued in the special grand jury reviewing whether additional crimes were committed in the Steubenville teen rape case.
William Rhinaman, 53, of Mingo Junction, was indicted by the grand jury on the following counts:
• Tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony
• Obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony
• Obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor
• Perjury, a third-degree felony
The charges against Rhinaman are related to his position as an employee of Steubenville City Schools in the area of information technology.
DeWine said in a statement, “This is the first indictment in an ongoing grand jury investigation. Our goal remains to uncover the truth, and our investigation continues.”
The panel of 14 jurors is reviewing evidence and hearing testimony as part of a state-level investigation into still-unspecified other felonies or misdemeanors connected to the original case.
In March, a visiting judge found Trenton Mays and Ma'lik Richmond delinquent of raping a teenage girl in August 2012. Mays and Richmond were both student-athletes at Steubenville High School at the time of the crimes.
Immediately after the two teens were sentenced, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called for the grand jury to be an "investigative tool" to probe other claims and questions that have dogged the case, such as whether anyone else knew about the rape and failed to report it.
DeWine said during the course of the investigation of the rape, 16 witnesses, both adults and teens, were uncooperative. A grand jury can be used to compel witnesses to testify.
Jurors started meeting at the Jefferson County 911 Center on April 30. Since then, jurors have taken intermittent breaks in proceedings to allow for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to analyze electronic evidence.
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