Rhinaman Trial Set For Feb.
William Rhinaman, the former director of technology for the Steubenville City School District and the first person indicted by the special Jefferson County grand jury, is tentatively set to go on trial Feb. 24.
The special grand jury held periodic sessions beginning in April to investigate if additional crimes were committed stemming from the August incident that saw two Steubenville High School students convicted of the rape of a teenage Weirton girl.
Rhinaman was indicted by the special grand jury Oct. 4 and arrested by Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents on Oct. 7 at his Mingo Junction home. He was arraigned Oct. 8 on charges of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury.
Rhinaman was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Dec. 13, but the hearing was delayed, according to assistant Ohio Attorney General Scott Longo, because Rhinaman’s attorney was unable to attend the session in the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.
Neil Rubin, the Akron-area attorney representing Rhinaman, did not return a message seeking comment.
A spokesman for Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed Monday a pre-trial hearing was held by a telephone conference call last week and a final pre-trial hearing is now set for Jan. 28.
The spokesman said Rhinaman’s trial is tentatively set for Feb. 24 in Jefferson County before visiting retired Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove.
Rhinaman was named in a four-count secret indictment issued on Oct. 7 accusing the 53-year-old Mingo Junction man with tampering with evidence by altering, destroying, concealing or removing evidence from Aug. 11, 2012, to April 25.
A series of parties that ended with a Weirton girl being raped by two Steubenville High School students occurred on Aug. 11.
Ma’Lik Richmond and Trent Mays were convicted earlier this year of rape and sentenced to terms in the Ohio Department of Youth Services.
Count two of the indictment handed down by the special grand jury accuses Rhinaman tried to stop the prosecution of another person by either concealing or destroying evidence and getting the person to withhold information or communicating false information from April 8 to Oct. 4.
The third count charges Rhinaman with obstructing official business from April 8 until Oct. 4.
The perjury charge claims Rhinaman made a false statement under oath to the special grand jury during a July 8 proceeding.
The Steubenville board of education immediately placed Rhinaman on paid administrative leave. He retired from his job effective Nov. 1.