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Steubenville School Worker on Leave Due to Obstruction Charges
STEUBENVILLE (Ken Hines) -- A school employee has been placed on a leave of absence because of criminal charges connected to a grand jury investigation into activities surrounding the alleged rape of a teen by fellow students.
The Steubenville Board of Education announced Tuesday that information technology worker William Rhinaman will be out of work as he faces several charges -- including obstructing justice and perjury -- related to illegal acts he allegedly committed while working for the district.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has confirmed that the charges against Rhinamen are connected to his job, but has refused to release specific details about the alleged crimes.
A special grand jury has been working for months to determine if adults in the Steubenville community failed to act appropriately after two high school football players were accused of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl at an August, 2012 party.
The two players were eventually charged and convicted of rape.
Rhinamen, 53, is the first person to be charged as a result of the grand jury investigation, and he may not be the last, according to DeWine.
"The only thing I can [say] is that the grand jury investigation continues," DeWine said.
Rhinamen has denied the charges through his attorney.
The Steubenville Board of Education released the following statement regarding Rhinamen's arrest:
"The Board of Education of Steubenville City Schools learned late yesterday that the Districts Director of Technology, Bill Rhinaman, has been indicted by a special grand jury convened by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. According to the Ohio Attorney Generals office, Mr. Rhinaman was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. Mr. Rhinaman will be placed on a leave of absence effective immediately, pending the outcome of the criminal case.
"Mr. Rhinaman was originally employed by the Steubenville School District in 1985. He worked for the District until 2002, when he worked for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. He returned to the Steubenville Schools in 2006 and has since been employed in his present capacity. As the Director of Technology, Mr. Rhinaman is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the Districts technology infrastructure, hardware and software.
"The Board is not privy to the grand jury proceedings and has no knowledge or information about the evidence leading to these charges. The Board will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities in their on-going investigation, as we have since this investigation first began. Any questions about the charges or the criminal investigation should be directed to the office of the Ohio Attorney General."