Teacher gets community service in Steubenville rape case

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A Steubenville High School teacher and coach indicted for failing to report child abuse in the aftermath of two rape investigations involving high school students will perform community service in exchange for dismissal of the charge.

Seth Fluharty, a wrestling coach and special education teacher, struck the deal Friday with state prosecutors in Ohio.

Mr. Fluharty had been accused of failing to report suspected child abuse, a misdemeanor, in regard to the August 2012 rape of a West Virginia girl by two Steubenville High School football players.

As part of the deal, Mr. Fluharty has agreed to perform 20 hours of community service at a local domestic violence shelter and attend a training session for Steubenville schools by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

If he completes the terms of the agreement, the state will drop the charge.

Mr. Fluharty's case is the third of six to be resolved in the wake of the August 2012 rape and an investigation of another alleged rape by baseball players in April of that year.

The others indicted were superintendent Mike McVey, West Elementary principal Lynnett Gorman, volunteer assistant football coach Matt Belardine and technology director William Rhinaman.

Ms. Gorman previously entered a deal similar to Mr. Fluharty's. She faced the same charge, except that hers pertained to the alleged rape of a 14-year-old by a group of baseball players in April 2012. No one was charged in that case. But under Ohio law, school officials have an obligation to report suspected abuse.

At least some of the charges that Mr. McVey faces also involve that April incident, although no details have been released. His case is pending.

Mr. Belardine is charged with allowing underage drinking, obstructing official business and related offenses in connection with the August rape.

Mr. Rhinaman is charged with evidence tampering, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury, all in regard to the August incident.

Mr. Rhinaman's daughter Hannah, a former school employee, was indicted on theft charges unrelated to the rape cases. The grand jury discovered that she had stolen school computer equipment; she pleaded guilty last month.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-231-0132.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com. First Published April 11, 2014 11:43 AM


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