On Monday, more adults were charged with allegedly helping several Steubenville high school athletes cover up the rape of an unconscious teenager. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that a grand jury investigating the case has indicted the school superintendent, one educator, and an assistant football coach in relation to the August 2012 incident.
During the summer of 2012, teenagers from several area high schools gathered in Steubenville, Ohio for an end-of-summer party. Some of the teenagers, including many members of the prized Steubenville High School Football team, were drinking at the home of an assistant football coach. The party would ultimately progress to multiple locations throughout the night.
During the night, Trent Mays, Ma’lik Richmond, and a group of other teens transported an unconscious 16-year-old girl from house to house, assaulting her repeatedly and in varying fashions and then texting and posting comments and photos of the assaults on social media websites.
In one of the photos, the unconscious girl is being carried by her ankles and wrists by two teenage boys. One Steubenville High baseball player, Michael Nodianos, even made a video on his cell phone while the girl was in a back room of one of the party houses being assaulted. On the video, Nodianos says, “some people deserve to be peed on,” “she is so raped,” continually refers to the girl as a “dead body,” and calls the girl “deader than Trayvon Martin, JFK, OJ’s wife,” and more.
Other tweets and Facebook posts by the teens referred to the girl as a “slut,” “whore,” and “sloppy drunk bitch.” Yet, despite the heinous nature of the crime and actions of those directly and indirectly involved, many in the small Ohio town stood behind their star football players. Some residents blamed the girl for being irresponsible, saying that she was out to get the football players and put herself in a situation to be violated.
“The thing I found most disturbing about this is that there were other people around when this was going on,” William McCafferty, the Steubenville police chief told the New York Times last December. “Nobody had the morals to say, ‘Hey, stop it, that isn’t right.’”
In March of this year, Mays and Richardson were convicted of rape. After their conviction, a grand jury was convened to investigate the adults who were potentially involved in helping to cover up the heinous crime. Last month, the grand jury indicted William Rhinaman, the director of technology for Steubenville City Schools, on charges of obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, perjury, and obstructing official business.
Additional indictments were announced on Monday, including charges against school superintendent Michael McVey, who is charged with one count of tampering with evidence and two counts of obstructing justice, both felony crimes in that state of Ohio. McVey is also charged with the misdemeanor crimes of making a false statement and obstructing official business.
Other adults charged on Monday were wrestling coach Seth Fluhart, and assistant Steubenville High football coach Matt Belardine. Fluhart was charged with failure to report child abuse. Belardine was charged with four misdemeanor crimes of allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business, making a false statement, and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child. Also charged on Monday in an unrelated, alleged April 2012 Steubenville rape case was elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman, CNN reports.
Steubenville High’s head football coach Reno Saccoccia knew about the rape and had seen Nodianos’ video, but did not report the crime. The day after the party, Mays texted a friend that he was not concerned about the rape. “I got Reno,” he texted, according to an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “He took care of it and shit ain’t gonna happen, even if they did take it to court. Like he was joking about it so I’m not worried.”
Saccoccia has not been charged with any crimes. In April, he received a 2-year contract extension as director of administrative services from the Steubenville Board of Education. He is currently in year 3 of his 5-year football coaching contract.