Ohio school employees put on leave after Steubenville rape case

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 26, 2013 6:38 PM
Ohio school employees put on leave after Steubenville rape case

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The top school official in Steubenville, Ohio, has been put on leave after his indictment on charges that he obstructed an investigation into the rape of a drunk teenage girl at a party in 2012, the district school board said Tuesday.

In addition to the superintendent, the district also placed on administrative leave an elementary school principal and a special education teacher, who were both accused in indictments of failing to report child abuse or neglect.

The actions came on Monday hours after the indictments were announced and during an emergency board meeting, the board said in a statement on Tuesday. It named former Steubenville Superintendent Richard Ranallo as acting superintendent.

The rape case drew national attention to Steubenville, a town about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, after a photo and video that appeared to document the assault of the 16-year-old girl were posted online.

In March, two high school football players were found guilty as juveniles of assaulting the girl and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called for a grand jury to determine if people had hindered an investigation into the rape accusations.

Superintendent Michael McVey, 50, was accused of two counts of obstructing justice and one count of evidence tampering, all felonies, and misdemeanor counts of making false statements and obstructing official business.

Elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman, 40, and special education teacher Seth Fluharty, 26, face misdemeanor charges of failing to report child abuse or neglect.

Fear and Loathing of Jordan Peterson
Suzanne Fields

An indictment was also filed Monday against former assistant football coach Matthew Belardine, 26, with misdemeanor charges that include allowing underage drinking.

The grand jury in October indicted the former director of technology for the Steubenville schools, William Rhinaman, on felony charges of obstruction of justice, evidence tampering and perjury.

All five defendants are scheduled to appear in court on December 6.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Elizabeth Daley in Pittsburgh; Editing by David Bailey and Lisa Shumaker)