Volunteer coach gets 10 days in Steubenville rape case

Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-22 18:10:10-04
By Ross Levitt


(CNN) — An assistant high school football coach was found guilty of two misdemeanors in connection with the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case that captured national attention in 2012, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday.

Matt Belardine, a volunteer coach at Steubenville High School, was sentenced to 10 days in jail Tuesday. He’s the first adult sentenced to jail time in connection with the case, in which two members of the school’s football team were convicted of raping a severely intoxicated 16-year-old girl.

Belardine was the only adult present at an August 2012 party held at his home and attended by both players, Ma’lik Richmond and Trenton Mays, and the victim, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office said. Belardine pleaded no contest to serving alcohol to a minor and making a false statement, charges that carried a six-month maximum sentence each.

“It’s very unfortunate the events that transpired that night, you know, with the girl and everything,” Belardine said in court. He said he believed he made “the right decisions,” but “I didn’t make the decisions quick enough.”

He said he learned “a very good lesson — that no matter what, you should always tell the truth.”

In addition to the jail time, Belardine was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service and pay $1,000 in fines. Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio attorney general’s office, tells CNN Belardine was ordered to report to jail on Friday.

Two other charges, obstructing official business and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child, were dismissed.

He’s one of six people indicted by a special grand jury investigating adults involved in the rape case, and his case is the fourth of those to be resolved.

William Rhinaman, the director of technology for Steubenville City Schools, is also expected to appear in court Tuesday for a pretrial hearing. He has been indicted on charges of tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, obstructing official business and perjury.

Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Michael McVey faces three felony charges. He’s due back in court on a motion hearing on May 5.

Richmond, then 16, was released from juvenile detention in January. He’d been sentenced to serve a year in a juvenile correctional facility, but he was credited for the time he served before the trial.

Mays, who was 17 when he was convicted, also was found guilty of disseminating a nude photo of a minor and was sentenced to two years.

The teens were convicted in March 2013 after a trial that divided the football-crazed Rust Belt town. Lurid text messages, social media posts, as well as cell phone pictures and videos helped raise the national profile of the case, which revolved around Richmond and Mays’ actions during a series of end-of-summer parties.

The case attracted the attention of bloggers, who questioned everything from the behavior of the football team to the integrity of the investigation.

Richmond and Mays have been classified as Tier II sex offenders and will be required to report to their local sheriff’s office every six months for the next 20 years.

CNN’s Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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