Daughter of Steubenville schools' IT director pleads guilty, enters rehab

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A former employee of the Steubenville school district admitted last week that she stole school computer equipment in a case that arose from a special grand jury’s investigation of two reported rapes by high school athletes in 2012.

Hannah Rhinaman, 20, daughter of indicted school technology chief William Rhinaman, pleaded to receiving stolen property and grand theft and entered into drug rehabilitation as part of a deal with the attorney general’s office.

Her crimes were unrelated to the rape cases but were uncovered by the grand jury probe of whether school district employees broke laws in the aftermath of the allegations.

Ms. Rhinaman admitted that she stole the equipment while working as a contract employee. She was hired in 2012 to help the district’s technology department set up computer labs and update software.

As part of the plea, the theft charges will be dismissed if she completes the drug program.

The cases against her father, who is set to go to trial April 7, and three others indicted by the same grand jury are pending.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for today for Superintendent Mike McVey, accused of obstructing justice and tampering with evidence in connection with the August 2012 rape of a teenage girl by football players and a second alleged assault on another teenage girl four months earlier by baseball players.

Former volunteer football coach Matt Belardine, whose house was the scene of the drinking party that led to the August 2012 rape, is scheduled for trial April 22.

A trial date for special education teacher and strength coach Seth Fluharty has not been set. He is accused of failure to report child abuse in connection with the August incident.

A charge against Lynnett Gorman, an elementary school principal, was dismissed in January as part of a plea deal in which she agreed to perform community service work. She had been accused of failing to report child abuse in the April 2012 incident, in which a 14-year-old girl said three high school baseball players raped her during a drunken party at the home of the baseball coach.

The girl and her mother did not report the allegations to the local sheriff until September 2012, after the investigation had begun into the August rape. The sheriff turned the matter over to Steubenville police, who referred it to the attorney general.

No one was charged with rape in that case.

At least some of the charges against Mr. McVey also relate to that April incident, but the details have yet to be made public.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510. First Published March 3, 2014 2:28 PM


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