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Steubenville Rape Case: School Official Charged

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on October 08, 2013 1:03 PM

A rape case involving high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, has resulted in a school administrator being charged on allegations that he attempted to hinder the investigation.

School district director of technology William Rhinaman, 53, was arrested Monday after being indicted by a grand jury on charges of perjury, obstruction with justice, obstructing official business, and tampering with evidence, Reuters reports.

What exactly was Rhinaman's alleged role in stymieing the rape investigation?

Indictment Reveals Allegations of Cover-up

The grand jury indictment was released to the public on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. It alleged that between August 11, 2012, and April 25, 2013, Rhinaman tried to "alter or conceal evidence" relating to the Ohio rape case.

Two Steubenville High School football players have already been convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl. The grand jury indictment seems to suggest that Rhinaman was involved in an attempt to conceal evidence of the crime from police.

Allegations of a cover-up have dogged this case since the investigation began in 2012, and the New York Daily News reports that Rhinaman played for the same high school football team as the convicted rapists in the late 70s.

This may be a coincidence, but the perjury charges for lying under oath on July 8, 2013 -- while the grand jury was in session, according to the AP -- might be a red flag.

Indictment Is Just the Beginning

The AP reports that the grand jury was convened the day after the two teens' convictions for rape, and it is likely that prior to the indictment, Rhinaman was called as a witness before the grand jury.

Grand juries serve as a sort of combination of investigators and judges, with the goal of determining whether there is probable cause to support criminal charges against a defendant.

Now that a grand jury indictment for Rhinaman has been released, CBS News reports that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed the grand jury investigation is continuing.

It is possible that the grand jury will explore if more school administrators were involved in failing to report the sexual assault or even aided Rhinaman in the alleged cover-up.

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