STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – A school superintendent was indicted Monday for obstruction in the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football stars, who were convicted in April in a case that drew national attention and outrage over the crime and the way that photos and videos of the episode made their way onto social media.
Michael McVey, the superintendent of Steubenville City Schools, was indicted by a grand jury on felony counts of obstructing justice and tampering with evidence. Three other adults, including an elementary school principal, were indicted on lesser charges.
“While this started out being about the kids, it is also just as much about the parents, about the grown-ups, about the adults,” Mike DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general, said in announcing the charges. “How do you hold kids accountable if you don’t hold the adults accountable?”
The case drew wide attention because of the way scores of text messages and cellphone photographs documenting the rape, during a party in the summer of 2012, were shared by other teenagers, who did nothing to intervene to help the victim, who was intoxicated.
Online, the case became widely known, with some people accusing the community of closing ranks to protect its athletic heroes.
After the conviction of the two teenage players in a four-day trial in March, DeWine convened a special grand jury to investigate the role of adults in enabling and covering up the students’ behavior. The indictments against the principal, Lynette Gorman, and a high school wrestling coach, Seth Fluharty, were on charges of failing to report child abuse. A fourth adult, an assistant football coach, Matthew Bellardine, was indicted on a charge of allowing underage drinking and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
One adult not indicted was Steubenville High’s football coach, Reno Saccoccia. At the trial of his two convicted players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, a text message was read from Mays stating he had persuaded Saccoccia “to take care of it” and adding that his coach “was joking about it so I’m not that worried.”
Asked at a news conference about Saccoccia, DeWine said he was forbidden to speak about the grand jury investigation, which he praised as thorough.
“Every possible charge against any possible individual was considered,” he said.