UPDATE: Man Indicted by Grand Jury Investigating Steubenville Rape Case Changes Plea, Will Serve 10 Days in Jail
Jefferson County -
Matthew Belardine, one of the men indicted by the grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case changed his plea from 'not guilty' to 'no contest' on one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking.
Each charge carries a potential sentence of six months in prison and a fine of $1,000. Belardine's jail sentence on the two counts was suspended as long as he abides by court orders, which includes 40 hours of community service. Belardine will serve 10 days in jail on a separate charge of lying to law enforcement.
Two counts of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dismissed. Dennis McNamara, Belardine's attorney, said in a statement that Belardine did not provide alcohol or assist in the purchase of alcohol the night of a party during which a 16-year-old girl was raped.
His attorney claimed Belardine only came home and saw the party, yelled for the kids to quiet down then announced the party was over and announced everyone had to leave. McNamara said Belardine, "did the right thing, but didn't do it quick enough."
The falsification charge involved an initial interview with a BCI agent when Belardine said he kicked the teens out much earlier than he actually did. Belardine was fired from his current job due to the charges, and claims he does not have financial stability to pay the fines.
The prosecution, in a statement, said there was no indication that he provided alcohol to juveniles but he was aware that there was drinking.
On April 11 of this year, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine also announced that a resolution was reached in the case of Seth Fluharty, the Steubenville High School wrestling coach who was indicted by the special grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case, for failing to report child abuse or neglect.
The resolution states that Fluharty agreed to the following:
- Perform 20 community service hours at the A.L.I.V.E. shelter or other approved facility in the Steubenville area.
- Attend a training session for Steubenville City Schools provided by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV) to provide Steubenville school staff members with an overview of of sexual assault and to teach them how to co-facilitate the "Stand Up!" program for Steubenville students.
Attorney General Mike DeWine explained, "This resolution acknowledges how very important it is to report child abuse and neglect. Mr. Fluharty will be part of the work that is being done in Steubenville to educate students and school officials about the seriousness of sexual asslt and the need to report these incidents."
If Fluharty successfully completes the terms of the agreement, the misdemeanor charges against him would be dismissed.
Fluharty's case is the third case to be resolved among the six individuals indicted by the special grand jury.