Tech worker pleads not guilty in Ohio rape case

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STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – An eastern Ohio school employee pleaded not guilty Wednesday to tampering with evidence and three other counts brought by a grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players last year.


William Rhinaman, the Steubenville city schools’ technology director, also asked for a public defender during the court hearing in Jefferson County. He said he doesn’t know whether he’ll be paid while on leave following his arrest this week.


Rhinaman, 53, also faces charges of obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. Prosecutors haven’t outlined specific allegations against him. In April, investigators searched Steubenville High School and the local school board offices.


One of the chief issues before the 14-member grand jury is whether adults like coaches or school administrators knew of the allegation but failed to report it as required by state law.


Rhinaman left jail after Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove released him on his own recognizance. The judge said she would look at Rhinaman’s assets, then ask the Ohio Public Defender’s office about representation.


In March, a judge convicted two Steubenville high school football players of raping the West Virginia girl after a party Aug. 11, 2012.


The tampering with evidence charge alleges Rhinaman tried to alter or conceal evidence as far back as the day of that party, according to the indictment.


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