School Officials’ Trials Set

STEUBENVILLE – Pretrial hearings were held Tuesday for two defendants indicted by a special grand jury investigating aspects of the Steubenville rape case.

Former volunteer high school football coach Matthew Belardine and Seth Fluharty, a wrestling and conditioning coach and teacher at Garfield East Elementary School, were among six people indicted by the special grand jury called by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Fluharty was indicted on one misdemeanor count of failure to report child abuse or neglect on Aug. 13, 2012.

Belardine was indicted on four misdemeanor counts including allowing an underage person to consume beer or liquor, obstructing official business, falsification and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child.

Belardine’s defense attorney held a conference call with the assistant attorneys general and visiting Summit County retired Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove. Belardine’s trial is set for April 22, said Dan Tierney, Ohio Attorney General’s spokesman. Fluharty’s case will remain in the pretrial phase and no trial date has been set, Tierney said.

A trial date of March 4 has been set for Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Mike McVey, who was named in a five-count indictment charging one count of tampering with evidence and two counts of obstructing justice, both felonies. McVey also was indicted with two misdemeanors including one count of falsification and one count of obstructing official business. The indictment claims McVey allegedly committed crimes starting on April 5, 2012.

In another case, William Rhinaman, the former director of technology for the Steubenville City School District and the first person indicted by the special grand jury, will have a pretrial hearing in his case April 7, at which time a trial date also may be set.

Rhinaman was charged with tampering with evidence by altering, destroying, concealing or removing evidence from Aug. 11, 2012, to April 25, 2013, according to the state attorney general’s office. He is also charged with attempting 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 during the same period. The perjury charge claims Rhinaman made a false statement under oath to the special grand jury.