No Jail For Steub. Coach

STEUBENVILLE – Charges against elementary school teacher and wrestling coach Seth Fluharty alleging he failed to report the August 2012 rape of a 16-year-old Weirton girl will be dismissed if he serves 20 hours of community service and meets other conditions.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Friday that he and Fluharty’s attorney reached a deal to have a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse or neglect dismissed if Fluharty abides by the agreement. He was one of six people indicted last year by a special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case.

Pursuant to the resolution, Fluharty – a wrestling and conditioning coach and teacher at Garfield East Elementary School – agreed to perform 20 hours of community service at the ALIVE domestic violence shelter or another approved facility in the Steubenville area. He also must attend a training session for Steubenville City Schools provided by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

“This resolution acknowledges how very important it is to report child abuse and neglect,” DeWine said. “Mr. Fluharty will be part of the work that is being done in Steubenville to educate students and school officials about the seriousness of sexual assault and the need to report these incidents.”

Columbus lawyer Thomas Tyack, who represented Fluharty, said he wouldn’t comment on the case until the final paperwork is filed. The agreement was reached outside of court, and Fluharty didn’t have to appear before a judge.

Six people were indicted by the special grand jury, and Fluharty’s case is the second that has ended with charges being dismissed against an educator if certain conditions are met.

A third person, a former school district employee, was allowed to enter drug treatment in lieu of conviction and charges will be dismissed if the drug treatment program is successfully completed.

Matthew Belardine, a former volunteer high school football coach, is scheduled to enter a guilty plea on April 22.

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.

Two other defendants – former Steubenville City Schools information technology director William Rhinaman and school Superintendent Michael McVey – have trials pending.