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Ohio drops evidence tampering charges against Steubenville superintendent in rape case

Tom Fontaine
| Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, 11:29 a.m.
Mike McVey, former superintendent of Steubenville (Ohio) City Schools.
Courtesy WPXI
Mike McVey, former superintendent of Steubenville (Ohio) City Schools.

The Ohio attorney general's office dropped charges Monday against the Steubenville City Schools superintendent accused of tampering with evidence and misleading authorities investigating the rape of a West Virginia teen in 2012 by two Big Red football players.

In exchange, Mike McVey, who was suspended, agreed to step down as district chief and not to seek employment with Steubenville schools. Jefferson County Court ordered McVey not to have contact with victims or defendants in cases related to the rape and alleged attempts to cover it up.

McVey, 51, appears determined to work in education again.

“He's going to move on with his life, and he still has all of his certificates,” said his attorney, Charles Bean, of St. Clairsville once the deal was announced in Jefferson County Court.

Bean said the deal reached with prosecutors doesn't prohibit McVey, who declined comment, from landing another education job. The attorney general's office referred questions to Ohio's Department of Education.

Education spokesman John Charlton wouldn't comment on McVey's case but said school districts are required to notify the state when teachers or administrators are fired or resign under pressure. An investigation typically lasting up to 90 days could issue recommendations from doing nothing to taking actions ranging from attaching a letter of admonishment to an educator's license to revoking it.

Any action taken would appear on a national database of teaching licenses, Charlton said.

Authorities investigated McVey's actions in connection with the case of two Steubenville football players accused of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old West Virginia girl after a party at an assistant football coach's home in August 2012. A juvenile court found players Ma'lik Richmond and Trenton Mays guilty and sent them to youth detention centers. Both have been released.

McVey wiped computer hard drives, erased emails and lied to investigators about his knowledge of the allegations against the boys, authorities said. Tampering and obstruction charges are pending against William Rhinaman, Steubenville schools' former technology director.

The deal to drop the charges against McVey “is not finalized until Steubenville City Schools formally accepts the resignation,” said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the attorney general's office.

Melinda Young, Steubenville's interim superintendent, did not return a message from the Trib.

“I am satisfied that (McVey) has been held accountable for his actions with this agreement and consider this a just result,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement.

Bean said his client is pleased.

“Our client got the entire indictment against him dismissed. The evidence was such that it was the right thing to do. They could not prove their case against him, in our opinion,” Bean said.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. The Associated Press contributed.

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