Top Steubenville staff charged in teen rape case

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announces indictments against four additional people in relation to the 2012 rape of a high school student. Photo / AP
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announces indictments against four additional people in relation to the 2012 rape of a high school student. Photo / AP

An Ohio school superintendent, two coaches and a principal have been charged by a grand jury that investigated whether other laws were broken in the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl by two football players, the state's attorney general said.

The Steubenville case drew national attention after hacker activists pushed media coverage and alleged a cover-up. The two teenage football players were convicted of raping the girl after an alcohol-fueled party in August 2012.

The crime shocked many because other students recorded the attack on their cellphones and gossiped about it online. The case came to light via morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video.

The case has long been marked by allegations that more football players should have been charged and that police and prosecutors tried to cover up aspects of the case early on.

The grand jury investigated whether adults like coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by state law.

"How do you hold kids accountable if you don't hold the adults accountable?" Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

The charges against the superintendent, Mike McVey, include felony counts of obstructing justice, DeWine said. McVey wasn't immediately available for comment.

An school principal, Lynnett Gorman, 40, and a strength coach, Seth Fluharty, 26, are charged with failing to report possible child abuse. A former volunteer coach, Matthew Bellardine, 26, faces several misdemeanor charges, including making false statements and contributing to underage alcohol consumption. It wasn't immediately clear if any of them had attorneys.

The grand jury earlier charged the Steubenville schools' information technology director with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. The panel also indicted that man's daughter on theft and receiving stolen property charges unrelated to the rape case. Both have pleaded not guilty.

-AP

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